Carex appalachica 

appalachian sedge    Perennial of the Month-- March 2015 Perry caricature

 (pronunciation at link)  (care' ex ap-pal-A-chi-cah)

Common name:  Appalachian sedge

Family:  Cyperaceae, Sedge

Height x width: 10-12in. x 12-18in.

Growth rate, habit: moderate, upright clumping

Foliage: narrow blades 1.5mm or less wide, smooth/hairless or rough/sandpapery

Flowers: late spring to early summer; insignificant aesthetically, 3-6 spikes to 8cm long containing male (staminate) and female (carpellate) flowers; produce achene fruits

Hardiness: USDA zones 3 (-30 to -40F) to 8

Soil:  well-drained, adaptable to many but not wet

Light:  part to full shade

Pests and problems:  none significant

Landscape habit, uses:  border massed or along edge, container, rock garden, slopes to help prevent erosion, tolerates root competition under trees, shade gardens, groundcover; deer resistant;combines well with ferns, Canada ginger, lily of the valley, Siberian bugloss, bigroot geranium, false solomon's seal, epimedium

Other interest: genus name from the Greek keiro meaning to cut, referring to the sharp edge of leaf margins; native to dry woods of eastern North America; early bloom good for pollinators, seeds later for birds; considered endangered in Kentucky; foliage moves nicely in wind, especially when massed; often in past mistakenly listed as radiata species

Other culture: low maintenance, cut back previous year's or dead foliage in spring if needed prior to bloom

Propagation:  spring division, seeds

Sources:  many online and local specialty nurseries

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