Pennsylvania Sedge, Carex pensylvanica

Pennsylvania Sedge

Carex pensylvanica

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium, Dry
Color: Green
Fragrance: No
Height: 6 to 12 inches
Spacing: 6 inches

Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pensylvanica) is a shade-loving perennial sedge that is native to thickets and dry woodland areas. It typically grows in loose colonies with a creeping habit. Roots are reddish brown. It is often found in areas with oak trees, hence the additional common name of oak sedge. This is a low sedge with soft, delicate, arching, semi-evergreen leaves. It typically grows in a clump to 8 inches tall. It is semi-evergreen in moderately cold winter climates. Narrow, grass-like, medium green leaves are typically shorter than the flowering stems. Plants are monoecious (spikelets of male flowers above female flowers). Flowers bloom in late spring in inflorescences atop rough, sharply triangular culms (stems) which rise up singly from the rhizomes. Staminate scales are green often tinged with reddish-purple with white margins. Pistillate scales are dark brown to purplish black with green midribs and white margins. Female flowers are followed by tiny fruits (achenes) enclosed in sac-like bracts (perigynia). The root system produces long stolons than run along the surface of the soil (underneath fallen leaves and other debris). Loose clonal colonies are often formed from these stolons.

Habitats include upland woodlands, thinly wooded bluffs, wooded slopes, sandy savannas, rocky or sandy openings in wooded areas, hill prairies, and upland prairies. This sedge is often found in dry woodland areas where oak trees are present.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers loose loams in dry soils in sun-dappled part shade. Most sedges prefer moist to wet soils, but not this one.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Plants spread by rhizomes.
  Plants may self-seed in optimum growing conditions.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

Bees flying footer graphic