University of Maryland Extension

Pennsylvania Sedge

Photo & Text by: Marian Hengemihle

Carex pensylvanica

Unlike most sedges that prefer wet areas, this native groundcover is one of those rare finds that is excellent for dry locations in part shade.  It forms soft grassy clumps of narrow bright green leaves about 10 inches high with a spread of 12-18 inches.  Reddish brown thimble- like flowers top the fine textured foliage in the spring but are not showy. This perennial typically grows in loose colonies with a creeping habit.  Plant in large drifts as an understory in woodland gardens, in borders, edges, or wooded slopes.  It provides seasonal cover for songbirds and small mammals and is deer and rabbit resistant.  This sedge can be semi-evergreen in cold winter climates.  Cut foliage to the ground in spring before new growth begins.


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