• Carex pensylvanica - Pennsylvania Sedge


    "Pennsylvania sedge is sedge in the Carex family native to thickets and dry woodland areas in North America.  It is commonly found near oak trees, hence one of its common names "oak sedge".  It grows in loose colonies and has a creeping habit with its reddish-brown roots.

    "It tolerates heavy shade and wet soils, though its ideal location is dry to moist shade.  This plant is a good lawn substitute for shady areas but will not tolerate heavy foot traffic.  It forms an ideal turf alternative in dry shade areas, needing mowing only once or twice a season to maintain a 2" height. It also makes a great underplanting for taller perennials.  It is semi-evergreen, dying back under very cold temperatures.  Identification of individual sedge (Carex) species can be difficult. " (North Carolina Extension)

    Carex Pensylvanica Botany By Dr. John Hilty

    Sedge family (Cyperaceae)


    "Pennsylvania Sedge prefers partial or dappled sunlight and mesic to dry conditions with good drainage. A sandy loam or loose loam with abundant organic matter is preferred; this sedge also adapts to thin rocky soil if there is a layer of loam and decaying organic matter on top." (Hilty)

    The Eastern Towhee enjoys the seeds of Pennsylvania Sedge. (Hilty)

    Faunal Associations:

    "Insects that are known to feed on Pennsylvania Sedge include the leafhopper Cosmotettix delector, the aphid Iziphya albipes, and such grasshoppers as Arphia pseudonietana (Red-winged Grasshopper), Orphuella speciosa (Pasture Grasshopper), and Trachyrhachys kiowa (Kiowa Grasshopper). Other insects that feed on sedges (Carex spp.) include larvae of the grass-miner moths Elachista argentosa and Elachista madarella, Chloealtis abdominalis (Thomas' Broad-winged Grasshopper), and such aphids as Iziphya flabella, Carolinaia caricis, and Vesiculaphis caricis (Panzer et al., 2006; Wyoming Agr. Exp. Sta., 1994; Vickery & Kevan, 1985; Microleps website, 2010; Blackman & Eastop, 2013). Various birds eat the seeds of sedges in habitats that are favored by Pennsylvania Sedge; these species include the Greater Prairie Chicken, Wild Turkey, immature Ruffed Grouse, Eastern Towhee, and various sparrows (Martin et al., 1951/1961). Sedges in such habitats are a source of food to the Prairie Vole as well." (Hilty)

    1. Copyright Long Island Natives
    2. Copyright Long Island Natives
    3. "Carex pensylvanica" By Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, 
    4. "Carex pensylvanica" By Chhe  - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18211631
    5. "Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pensylvanica)" by ZoeThePlantographer is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
    6. "Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge), Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden, CT" by Doug_McGrady is licensed under CC BY 2.0
    North Carolina Extension plant description: Carex Pensylvanica (Oak Sedge, Pennsylvania Sedge, Plantainleaf Sedge, Rush, Sedge, Sedges, Seersucker Sedge) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/carex-pensylvanica/. Accessed 1 Feb. 2022.

    John Hilty Botany, Cultivation, Faunal Associations: John Hilty, "Pennsylvania Sedge", Illinois Wildflowers, the publisher, Copyright 2004-2019. Accessed 1 February 2022

    Type: Rush or Sedge
    Family: Cyperaceae
    Native Range: Eastern North America
    Zone: 3 to 8
    Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
    Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
    Bloom Time: May
    Bloom Description: Greenish
    Sun: Part shade to full shade
    Water: Dry to medium
    Maintenance: Low
    Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize, Rain Garden
    Flower: Insignificant
    Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Wet Soil

    Information and images compiled by Erik N.Vegeto

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