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Shoegrass sedges

Carex sp.

Traditionally, certain sedges have been made into shoegrass. The sedge was – and is – softened and dried and then stuck into fur boots and mittens for keeping the feet and hands warm. The fur boots lined with shoegrass are hygienic and good for the feet. The ground below the boots kneads the soles. Shoegrass is tied into a compact bundle (fierra) after it is softened and dried.

The Sámi used to make “shoegrass” out of the sedges that have tough leaves, such as the bladder and water sedges. The stems of sedges – which are perennials – are branchless, leafless and usually triangular. The inflorescence is a spike, or a spikelike, composite or panicular compound raceme. In the Nordic countries, there are altogether 117 sedge species, and, typically, they grow on rivers, lakes and creeks.