Ruis (wombbat) wrote,

Cerridwen, wildlife, and sedges

Yesterday, I saw Cerridwen about her vital work on the UM campus where I work. She took the form of a large black crow, recycling the remains of a young robin that must have died when it fell out of its nest.

It made me remember something that I saw once during a medicine walk. I saw three crows consuming a dead pigeon and I immediately realized the role that crows have in consuming pain. (My walk was for guidance in diminishing the pain of sexual violence.) I lay down on a huge boulder in the park and pointed my chest to the sky, then I prayed for the crows to consume the pain I felt. It’s been enormously helpful to visualize the crows at their work when I’ve re-encountered that pain as I travel around the spiral path.

Today, I came across a rabbit, merrily munching away, right next to Angell Hall – the main classroom building, which is pictured on every publication about the University of Michigan. S/he was between a small ornamental tree and the foundation plantings. I was amazed. I've seem many squirrels and recently, many chipmunks. Now rabbits. Pretty soon we'll be overrun.

Siani identified a new bird loudly singing in our neighborhood in the last few month: the tufted titmouse. Apparently, it has only recently expanded its territory north into Michigan. It's definitely nesting in the neighborhood. My friend, Ayron, swears she hears catbirds around here, too, but I've yet to match her experience.

Some of the text of a lecture by A.A. Reznicek, April 2003, for Wild Ones, Ann Arbor, entitled "Native Michigan Sedges of Ornamental Value."

Plants are listed in alphabetical order by botanical name within broad categories of cultural preferences and size. Each species has a brief commentary, which notes significant features and also comments on the flowering/fruiting season and approximate area in Michigan where the species is native. Species so rare as to be endangered or extirpated in Michigan are not mentioned. The list is by no means exhaustive, but merely tries to guide selection of the best, most useful, and adaptable species.

“*” marks species I have seen offered for sale by nurseries (but my search was not comprehensive)

SUNNY, DRY SITES (sandy soils especially)
Small species (less than about 18 inches tall)
-- *Carex eburnea -- Wonderful clumper with delicate, hair-like leaves and inconspicuous spikes with black 'fruits,' heat and drought resistant, June; throughout
-- Carex meadii (= C. tetanica var. meadii) -- blue-green mat former from long-creeping rhizomes, May-June; southern Lower Peninsula. Can be aggressive.
-- *Carex pensylvanica -- turf forming from long-creeping rhizomes, delicate, early species of prairies and open forests especially in sandy sites, April-May; throughout. A good lawn substitute. Somewhat shade tolerant.
-- Carex tonsa (=C. rugosperma) – dwarf tufted species, very early, tight rosettes, May, throughout
-- Trichophorum (Scirpus) clintonii -- dense clumps of fine, arching, hair-like foliage, very early, April-May; throughout, but rare. Larger species (more than about 18 inches tall)
-- Carex argyrantha -- tall, sedge with pendulous, silvery inflorescences, can tolerate some shade, but may be short-lived, June; Lower Peninsula
-- *Carex bicknellii -- Bicknell's sedge; showy clump-forming prairie species of dry, sandy soils, with arching coppery spikes, June; southern Lower Peninsula. An excellent species.
-- Carex foenea (=aenea) -- medium species of dry, sandy, acid soils with pendulous, rusty-brown spikes, may be short-lived, June; northern Michigan

SUNNY, WET SITES (wet meadows, pond shores, etc.) Small species
-- *Carex aurea -- golden sedge; delightful, small spreader with golden, fleshy 'fruits,' quite showy, June; throughout
-- *Carex bebbii -- dense clumper with compact heads of bronze spikes, July; throughout
-- Carex capillaris -- clump former with delicate, nodding spikes and narrow, basal foliage, June; northern Michigan
-- Carex flava -- yellow sedge; dense clumps with small, yellowish-green balls on thin stalks, June; throughout
-- Carex granularis -- nice blue-green foliage, but rather floppy, spreading spikes, June; throughout
-- *Carex hystericina -- a somewhat larger clumping species with large, nodding, bristly spikes, July; throughout
-- *Carex nigra -- black sedge; compact, but mat forming, fairly striking in bloom, an excellent low, dense ground cover, easily available commercially, June; northern Michigan, very rare.
-- Eriophorum spissum -- bog cotton; golf ball sized white tufts solitary on thin stems, a dense clumper, but needing acid, peaty soil, May; throughout. Probably difficult.
-- Rhynchospora alba -- white beaked-rush; delicate white-headed colonial species of moist soils, probably not easy to establish, July; throughout
-- *Trichophorum alpinum (=Scirpus hudsonianus) -- dwarf cottongrass; a very delicate species slowly forming loose clumps from short-creeping rhizomes, not easy to establish, June; northern Michigan Larger species
-- *Carex comosa - a big clumper of very wet sites, often floating mats, with striking, nodding, thick spikes of bristly 'fruits,' July; throughout
-- *Carex crinita - a very robust clumper with pendulous spikes, July; throughout
-- *Carex lupulina - hop sedge; a tall species with very large spikes and bladdery 'fruits,' August; widespread
-- *Carex squarrosa - a clumper growing in a vase shape in wet meadows and open wet woods, quite striking, July; southeastern Lower Peninsula
-- Cyperus strigosus - a clump forming, and non-weedy
-- Cyperus, quite handsome with yellow heads, August; Lower Peninsula
-- Eriophorum virginicum -- tawny cotton-grass; a species of acid soils with creeping rhizomes, tawny, dense heads in July-August; throughout
-- Eriophorum viridi-carinatum -- cotton-grass; white, cottony, pendulous spikes in a small head, a loose clumper, probably the best cotton-grass for gardens, prefers limy soils, June; throughout
-- *Rhynchospora macrostachya -- the largest beaked-rush native to Michigan, a striking plant with yellow-brown heads, requires acid soil and full, hot sun, August; southwestern Lower Peninsula
-- *Scirpus atrovirens -- bulrush; a common tall wetland and pond shore clump former, July; throughout
-- *Scirpus cyperinus -- woolgrass; a very large clump former of acid, sandy or peaty soils, very striking, July-August; throughout
-- *Scirpus pendulus -- a more delicate clumping bulrush with graceful, nodding spikes, tolerate of a bit of drying, June-July; Lower Peninsula

SHADY, DRY SITES Small species
-- Carex jamesii -- a delicate narrow-leaved clumper of rich woods, both dry and moist, May; southern Lower Peninsula
-- *Carex pensylvanica -- turf forming, delicate, early species of prairies and open forests especially in sandy sites, May; throughout
-- Carex radiata (= C. rosea) -- a dense clumper with fine, almost hair-like, spreading foliage and small, stiff, bristly spikes, May-June; throughout Larger species
-- *Carex sprengelii -- a beautiful, loose clumping sedge, with nodding spikes narrow leaves, quite drought tolerant, June; throughout

SHADY, MOIST SITES Small species
-- Carex albicans var. emmonsii (= C. emmonsii) -- a very small sedge growing in dense spreading, bright green tufts, needs acid, sandy soil and somewhat sun and drought tolerant, April-May; southern Lower Peninsula
-- Carex albursina -- very broad-leaved (to 5 cm wide), clump forming sedge of rich woods, quite an attention getter, loved by slugs, May-June; Lower Peninsula
-- Carex bromoides -- wide spreading dense clumps of fine, almost hair-like foliage, very conspicuous in many wet woods, June; Lower Peninsula
-- Carex jamesii -- a delicate narrow-leaved clumper of rich woods, both dry and moist, May; southern Lower Peninsula
-- Carex pedunculata -- one of the very earliest woodland sedges to bloom, even in late March in southern Michigan, a dense clump former with narrow, fairly blunt, short leaves, April-May; throughout
-- *Carex plantaginea -- one of the finest woodland sedges, a tight clumper with very broad bright green leaves with a puckered, seersucker texture and red bases, April-May; throughout Larger species
-- *Carex crinita - a very robust clumper with pendulous spikes, likes rich soil, July; throughout
-- *Carex davisii -- a graceful clumper with nodding spikes of largish 'fruits' that turn burnt- orange when ripe, June-July; southern Lower Peninsula, rare.
-- *Carex gracillima -- a graceful clumper with slender, nodding spikes, June; throughout
-- *Carex grayi - a striking species with large, globular, spiky heads like a medieval mace, June-August; Lower Peninsula
-- *Carex retrorsa - a robust clump former with large spikes. Can tolerate a lot of sun.
-- Carex tuckermanii - bladder sedge; a medium sized, arching species with large spikes and bladdery 'fruits,' August; widespread.
-- *Carex muskingumensis -- a fine species forming large clumps by slow-creeping rhizomes, leaves strongly three-ranked and spikes oval, pointed at both ends, and quite conspicuous, July-September; southern Lower Peninsula
-- Carex prasina – A graceful clumper with arching inflorescences, likes stream banks and seeps, June; Lower Peninsula
-- *Carex squarrosa - a clumper growing in a vase shape in wet meadows and open wet woods, quite striking, July; southern Lower Peninsula

Just a few sources of plants and seeds:

PRAIRIE MOON NURSERY Route 3, Box 1633 Winona, MN 55987-9515

W I L D T Y P E Design, Native Plants & Seed 900 N. Every Road Mason, MI 48854

SENECA HILL PERENNIALS 3712 Co. Rte. 57 Oswego, NY 13126
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