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Carex appalachica, commonly called Appalachian sedge, is a clumping sedge with finely textured leaves. Carex appalachica is found growing naturally in dry rocky woods under dappled canopy. The leaves of Appalachian sedge have been described as “flowing like water” attributing to its fine texture as it lays down in massings. Carex appalachica blooms in the spring with small, indescript flowers. Later on, the tiny star-like seed heads provide a mid-season food source for songbirds. Carex appalachica can also be used as a lawn substitute in low-traffic areas, growing to be about 12-18" in height and tolerates a hard cut back once the seed has ripened.
Sweeping throughout woodlands, Carex appalachica finds its home under the shady canopy of trees, nestled among tree roots and popping out of woodland debris. This is a clumping Carex, therefore this sedge does not spread rhizomatously through its roots. Carex appalachica prefers well-drained, dry soils and full shade. Their tough leaf blades are not favored by deer or rabbits, allowing them to avoid most mammalian browse. This cool-season sedge looks its best in the spring and fall, with leaves that turn a nice straw-color through the winter. In some regions, such as Kentucky, this plant is listed as a threatened or endangered species.