Carex woodii - Pretty sedge

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Carex woodii is a lovely perennial woodland sedge with narrow fine textured leaves.  This sedge forms clonal colonies from underground rhizomes.  In spring a sparse offering of yellow-green spikelets are held above the leaves. In the wild, this species occurs in well drained, moist or dry acidic or calcareous woods.  In landscape situations, Carex woodii is an excellent groundcover for the shade garden. Plants are indigenous to mesic hardwood forests especially on deeply shaded north facing slopes, rich calcareous woodlands, rich moist beech-maple forests, dry-mesic upland forests, montane mixed oak or oak-hickory forests, acidic cove forests and perimeters of hillside seeps.  Common canopy trees include sugar maple, basswood, northern red oak, green ash, bur oak, trembling aspen and American beech.

Foliage is fine textured and light green.  Blades are up to 10” long and about 1/8” wide.  The lowest leaves are reduced to bladeless burgundy colored sheathes.

In early to mid-spring fertile culms rise above the foliage bearing a terminal staminate spikelet with 2 pistillate spikelets below.  The upright spikelets are golden to yellow-green with white or purplish scales.  The perigynia on the pistillate flower are oval to rounded with a beakless tip.

After flowering, yellowish brown seed clusters appear and are dispersed by late spring or early summer.

This sedge is 6-12” tall with an equal spread.  Plants form clonal colonies that flower sparingly and rarely produce seed.