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Native alternative(s) for Carex pensylvanica:
Carex glaucescens Carex glaucescens
Carex grayi Gray’s Sedge
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Carex grayi Gray’s Sedge
Carex glaucescens Carex glaucescens
Cornus amomum Cornus amomum

Pennsylvania Sedge Carex pensylvanica

Phonetic Spelling
KAIR-eks pen-sill-VAN-ee-ka
Description

A Pennsylvania sedge is 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.   Tolerates heavy shade and wet soils  though its ideal location is dry shade.  This plant is a good lawn substitute but will not tolerate heavy foot traffic.  It forms an ideal turf alternative in dry shade areas needing mowing only once or twice a sesaon to maintain a 2" height.   Also makes a great underplanting for taller perennials.  It is semi-evergreen, dying back under very cold temperatures.  Idenfitification of individual sedge (Carex) speices can be difficult.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Smut, rust, and leaf spot, are occasional problems along with aphids, Anthracnose, Fungus gnat larvae. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Entryway Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#rain garden#heavy shade#rush#sedge#lawn alternative#erosion control#wet sites#cpp#NC native#food source summer#food source herbage#food source hard-mast fruit#dry soils tolerant#HS302#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#rain garden#heavy shade#rush#sedge#lawn alternative#erosion control#wet sites#cpp#NC native#food source summer#food source herbage#food source hard-mast fruit#dry soils tolerant#HS302#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carex
    Species:
    pensylvanica
    Family:
    Cyperaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & E. Canada to N. Central & E. U.S.A
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 1 in. - 0 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 1 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Displays from May to June.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Flowers bloom from April to May. Plants are monoecious, male flowers appear in spiklets above the female flowers. Inflorescences are at the tip of rough, triangular stems. Staminate scales are green with reddish-purple with white margins. Pistillate scales are dark brown to purple-black with green midribs and white margins.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Erosion
    Insect Pests
    Wet Soil