Carex specuicola

Common Names:
Navajo sedge
J.T. Howell
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The Arboretum at Flagstaff

The conservation of Carex specuicola is fully sponsored.
Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.


Navajo sedge is found in seep-springs on vertical cliffs of red-pink Navajo sandstone (Arizona Ecological Field Services Office 2002). At first glance, this perennial sedge looks a lot like a grass, with 25-40 cm long, grass-like leaves growing in bunches. However, this plant is a sedge, not a grass, for a number of reasons. Rather than being round like a grass, the stems of a sedge are three-sided, or triangular. Flowers are concentrated in 2 to 4 groups clustered at the end of a long thin stalk, 2-3 times the length of the leaves, with female flowers situated above male flowers. Flowering and fruit set occur from spring to summer, but most of the reproduction appears to be vegetative. (USFWS 1985)

Many of the plants grow at such great heights that the only way to reach them is by rappelling down cliff faces.

Seep-springs on vertical cliffs of pink-red Navajo sandstone.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research