Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Carex pensylvanica

Pennsylvania sedge

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Smith, R.W.
Pennsylvania sedge is a low, clumped, grass-like perennial, 6-12 in. high, with a cluster of brown seed capsules clinging high on the stem. Foliage is pale-green in spring and summer, turning sandy-tan in fall.

Rhizomatous turf-forming with pale-green arching leaves. Forms ground cover in forest or savannah (oak/pine or sugar maple) Prefers light-textured soils. Resistant to deer grazing. (Ontario Native Plants 2002)

Image Gallery:

5 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Pubescence: Scabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Spike
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Perianth absent. Bloom time refers to fruiting period for Carex spp.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , GA , IL , IN , IA , KY , MD , MA , MI , MN , MO , NH , NJ , NY , NC , ND , OH , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: AB , NB , NS , ON
Native Distribution: S. Que. to s. Ont., ND & MT, s. to GA, AR & WY
Native Habitat: Dry to moist woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry to moist soils.
Conditions Comments: This is a fine ground cover, spreading relentlessly by rhizomes. Older patches may be invaded by other plants, probably because of the soil enrichment produced by the sedge.


Attracts: Birds

Last Update: 2015-02-10