Plant Guide > Grasses > Shear Grass > Pennsylvania Sedge

Pennsylvania Sedge

Pennsylvania SedgeCarex pennsylvanica

The earliest of our common species, as well as one of the most abundant, is the Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pennsylvanica) which is found in the dry soil of hills and open woodlands, carpeting the ground with tufts of slender leaves and opening inconspicuous flowers before the more showy blossoms have wakened from their winter's sleep.

In the borderland between woods and open pasture this sedge is one of the most common plants, and by dry waysides it is also frequently seen. The stems are rarely more than a foot in height and are often much less than that.

The blossoming spikes are small, the staminate flowers being borne in the uppermost spike, which is from one half to one inch in length, while the fertile flowers are in smaller, sessile spikes immediately below the staminate blossoms.

The scales are dark reddish brown, lighter on the margins and along the mid-vein. The most noticeable sedges of open marshes are the several Hop Sedges, blooming in early summer and bearing thick, oblong spikes of inflated, light green seed-pouches.