What’s the difference between grasses and sedges? in terms of anatomy and classification.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Bio.SE! What attempts to answer this question have you already taken? We ask that all question posters here attempt to search for an answer to their own question and explicitly indicate what research they've already done, what they learned, and what is still confusing or unknown to them. Our goal is not to simply be an answer site, but rather a site that promotes self-learning with some expert help along the way :). Please take a moment to edit your post with this additional detail, and it will likely be received more positively by our community. Thanks! $\endgroup$ May 2, 2020 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


Short answer

Sedges have edges, and they're in different families.

See Minnesota Wildflowers for a great summary with images.

Long answer

Both are in the order Poales, but they are in different families:

  • Grasses = Poaceae (of the graminid clade)

  • Sedges = Cyperaceae (of the [non-monophyletic]1 cypirid lineage)

Some anatomical differences:

enter image description here

Compiled using info from here and here

enter image description here

Source: New York Botanical Garden


1. Bouchenak-Khelladi, Y., Muasya, A.M. and Linder, H.P., 2014. A revised evolutionary history of Poales: origins and diversification. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 175(1):4-16.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What is an "edge" in this context? $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    May 2, 2020 at 20:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Terdon see the stem shape. Sedges have triangular stems instead of round. Each face of the triangle is an "edge" $\endgroup$ May 2, 2020 at 21:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .