Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge)



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.

Attracts:  Birds
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 much of ME), Mid-Atlantic, Southern and  Midwestern US:   Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).

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