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Sand Dune Sedge
Carex pansa

About Sand Dune Sedge (Carex pansa) Dune sedge is a member of the Cyperaceae (Sedge) family native to the coast of western North America from British Columbia to California, where it grows in scattered locations on dunes and other sandy habitats. It tends to grow in wetlands or moist places. This grass-like plant produces sharply triangular stems up to about 40 centimeters (16 inches) tall from a network of thin, long, coarse rhizomes. The flowers are made up of cluster of several spikes of dark brownish flowers. The plant is often dioecious, with an individual producing either male or female flowers in its flower clusters, but not both. Carex pansa is sometimes recommended as a lawn substitute, but it requires beach sand and regular water to perform well, and it may not tolerate traffic as well as typical lawn grasses.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
0.7 - 1.3 ft (0.21 - 0.4 m)




Flower Color
Cream, Brown

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Coastal strand, dunes and other sandy areas from Ventura County northward


Elevation ?
-253' - 2588'

Annual Precip. ?
12.8" - 71.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 2.14"

Coldest Month ?
40.4° F - 54.6° F

Hottest Month ?
57.2° F - 69.2° F

Humidity ?
0.33 vpd - 17.59 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers beach sand

Soil Texture

Soil PH
4.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Sunset Zones ?
4*, 5*, 17*, 24*

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Other Names
Common Names
Sanddune Sedge

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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