Barratt’s Sedge (Carex barrattii) produces pale bluish-green leaves that grow from tufts. Its flowers, which are rarely produced, are composed of interesting but difficult-to-see darkish purple flower spikes. This species was discovered in South Carolina in 1993 in a rather remarkable plant community that appears relictual from much colder times in the region (Hill and Horn 1997). Barratt’s sedge is uncommon throughout most of its range. It is not federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, but is ranked as threatened or endangered in a number of states in which it is found.
One state where this species is doing well is New Jersey. In 1978 and 1979, Congress and the State of New Jersey established the Pinelands National Reserve and the Pinelands Commission. The region is protected and managed to maintain its unique ecology while permitting compatible development.
In the late 1980’s the New York Botanical Garden began to cultivate this species, but there has been little other study, which is not unusual for sedges as a whole. The Center for Plant Conservation thanks the New York Botanical Garden, one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens in the world, for its continued participation in helping to preserve plants in our National Collection.
The conservation experts at CPC participating institutions such as the New York Botanical Garden share their in-depth conservation expertise about rare plants through CPC’s National Collection Plant Profiles.
Barratt’s Sedge photo credit: M Hagen NYBG