Family:     Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Duration:  Perennial

Height:     10-45 cm (1-1.5 ft)

Blooming: April-May


Penn Sedge

Carex pensylvanica Lam.

Stem: rhizomes are reddish brown to dark brown.


Flower: the inflorescence (flowering part of the plant) has a staminate spike (boy spike) separate from the pistillate spikes (girl spikes). The top staminate spike can get up to 2.4 cm (1 in) tall.  The perigynia (part surrounding the fruit) is veinless and pale green with dark reddish brown scales.  

Leaves: are 1-3 mm wide.  Culms are hairless, unbranched, and three-angled.  

Sun:  Full sun to shade

Comments: a common woodland sedge that can be easily confused with other woodland sedges.  One sedge that comes in looking a lot like like Pen sedge is Carex communis.  Pen sedge differs in having long rhizomes that spread horizontally.  Usually Pen sedge flowers earlier than C. communis.  

Etymology: The genus Carex comes from the Latin word meaning "reed-grass". The specific epithet, pensylvanica, simply means, "of Pennsylvania".  


all photos by Nathanael Pilla

Landscape: for a native, sedgy lawn, this is the plant for you.  It is the best substitute for that pesky lawn grass.

Species Present and Native
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Michigan City, IN., 46360 

The mission of Save the Dunes is to preserve, protect and restore the Indiana dunes and all natural resources in Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan Watershed for an enhanced quality of life.

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