Carex barbarae is a species of sedge known by the common name Santa Barbara sedge. It is native to California and Oregon, where it grows in wet and seasonally wet habitat, such as meadows and riverbanks. This sedge produces angled, hairless stems up to one meter tall or slightly taller, but not in clumps. The tough leaves are narrow with shredding, red-spotted or purple basal sheaths. The inflorescence produces erect and drooping spikes up to about 8 centimeters long with an associated long bract which exceeds the length of the spikes. The fruits are covered in a sac called a perigynium which is light to dark brown and sometimes red-spotted, leathery and tough, and sometimes with a toothed, hairy tip. The plant rarely matures into a fruiting stage, however, with most individuals remaining sterile. Parts of this sedge were used in basketry and as sewing fiber by California Native American groups such as the Maidu and Pomo.
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