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Products > Carex 'Chisai'
Carex 'Chisai' - Chisai California Sedge
Image of Carex 'Chisai'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass-like
Family: Cyperaceae (Sedges)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Brown
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [C. praegracilis 'Chia']
Height: <1 foot
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Carex 'Chisai' (Chisai California Sedge) - A short, rich-dark green sedge with narrow leaves that grows to 6-8 inches tall and spreads by short rhizomes that over time can form a delicate carpet that tolerates moderate foot traffic. A good plant as a solid ground cover, as a turf substitute, between and around stepping stones or mixed with other bulbs, perennials and grasses to create a natural meadow look. It tolerates full sun to partial shade but has a period of summer dormancy in warmer, drier climates. Moderate water requirements make this plant not quite drought tolerant but certainly lower than most lawn grasses. It is hardy to at least 10 F and likely to come back from the underground rhizomes after lower temperatures. We originally sold this plant as a selection of Carex praegracilis but this plant is finer textured, darker and shorter than most other selected forms of Carex praegracilis, and most importantly, it has such short rhizomes that it is more of a clumping sedge compared to the rapidly spreading California Field Sedge, Carex praegracilis. We received several seedlings plants labeled Carex praegracilis that Robert Abe had grown from seed received from S&S Seed in Carpinteria. We selected one seedling that we thought was the nicest with a tight habit and fine textured foliage. In 2016 we had built up enough stock and introduced this plant to the nursery trade using the name 'Chia' to honor Robert Abe as this was the name of the nursery in Carpinteria that he operated for many years. After selling this plant for over a year using this name, Robert Abe notified us that he no longer operated under the name Chia Nursery and asked that we rename this plant to 'Chisai, which translates to small or tiny in Japanese. As he was the original source of our material we felt obligated to do this and so we now call this plant Carex 'Chisai'. In 2018 we sent samples of this plant to the Carex Working Group to verify that this plant was in fact a selection of the California Field Sedge, Carex praegracilis. They concluded that if this species was indeed of North American origin that it could only be Carex praegracilis, but noted this plant seemed barley rhizomatous and had consistently androgynous (partly male and partly female) spikelets not normally consistent with this species, but other characteristics matched it. For this reason we continued to list it as a cultivar of Carex praegracilis, but no longer do.  The information displayed on this page is based on research conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations that we have made of it growing in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how it has performed in our crops out in the nursery field. We will incorporate comments that we receive from others as well, and welcome hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they have knowledge of cultural information we do not mention that would aid others in growing Carex 'Chisai'.