USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 1: 391
Where Commonly Found: Shady dry woodlands, thickets, shady bluff ledges, CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT.
How to Identify: (Can be VERY difficult to ID with over 1500 Carex species).
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key to Carex pensylvanica.
Missouri Botanical Garden description of Carex pensylvanica. Click on more images.
Flower Type: Rough, triangular shaped stems that rise from the rhizomes, monoecious, spikelets of male flowers above the female flowers.staminate (male flower, has stamen but no pistil) has green scales, tinged with reddish-purple with white margins, pistillate (female flower, has pistil but no stamen) has scales that are dark brown to purplish black with green midribs and white margins. Flowering May – June.
Leaf Arrangement: Sedge, large loose colonies, creeping with reddish brown roots, soft delicate appearance, semi-evergreen.
Leaf Type: Narrow, grass-like medium-green leaves, 8″-12″ long, typically shorter than flowering stems.
Height: .5 – 1 ft
Seed Collection: Allow seedheads to dry on plants, remove and collect seeds. Seed does not store well, sow as soon as possible.
Use: Garden or Naturalizing
Light: Full to Part Shade
Hardiness Zone: 3 to 8 USDA Zone Map
Soils: Dry to Moist
Notes: Pennsylvania Sedge can serve as an excellent ground cover for pollinator and/or rain gardens in part to full shade, forming loose thickets, spreading by rhizomes, allowing taller established perennials to thrive.
Native to the parts of the Northeastern (rare in ME), Mid-Atlantic, Southern and Midwestern US: Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).