Sunshine Farm and Gardens: Rare and Exceptional Plants
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Carex appalachica Carex appalachica

Tired of mowing the grass?  If you must have a lawn,  and we all know that lawns are not politically or environmentally correct these days, why not convert it to a no maintenance Carex garden?  Here's the perfect Carex for you.  I've been growing Carex appalachica for years now under the misnomer of Carex pennsylvanica.  It wasn't until the world famous,  all knowing Carex Guru,  Tony Reznicek - http://www.eeb.lsa.umich.edu/eebfacultydetails.asp?ID=89 informed me that I was in error.  Although they look similar,  there are subtle differences. 

In the wild,  Carex appalachica favors dry woodland conditions,  but is quite adaptable to just about any garden setting. I've planted this useful sedge on a west facing hillside with about a 45 degree slope to it. The super fine texture of the Carex appalachica cascading down from the top adds a remarkable dimension as it swirls around tree trunks and rocks along it's path.  It gives the impression of the movement of wind and water.

As with most Carex species and cultivars,  propagation is quite easy by division.  A mature clump will yield many new divisions which can be directly replanted or potted up and grown on.  We wash all of the soil off and trim the long, fine textured roots back to about 2" and do the same with the 12" -24" tops. We repot them,  and new roots appear at the bottom of the pots within just a few weeks.

While researching this plant,  I found that in some areas it is considered rare and endangered.  There is a system of ranking rarity and endangerment and the Idaho Fish and Game Commission has put up a chart showing the degrees. You can find this chart at: http://www2.state.id.us/fishgame/info/cdc/heritage_ranks.htm

Most states have Departments of Natural Resources and Heritage Programs that list and rank the rarity and occurrences of different animal and plant species.  South Carolina has such a chart and they break a species down into G-Rank (Global Risk),  S-Rank (State Risk) and LS (Legal Status). For example,  if you go to http://www.dnr.state.sc.us/pls/heritage/county_species.list?pcounty=all you will find that Carex appalachica is a G-4, (Apparently secure globally, though it may be rare in parts of its range)  S-? (Status unknown)
and SC (Of concern in the state of SC). Click on the headings at the top of the chart for a description of the category.  You can contact your own states DNR for a list of threatened and endangered species in your area.

I've put up a gallery of Carex appalachica images for you to look at,  mainly because I couldn't decide which one I wanted to attach to this mailing so check out http://sunfarm.com/plantlist/carexappalachica.phtml

Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom -
Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom - Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class - Liliopsida - monocotyledons
Subclass - Commelinidae
Order - Cyperales
Family - Cyperaceae - Sedges
Genus - Carex
Species - appalachica
Common name - genus - "Sedges"
Common name - species - "Appalachian Sedge"
Synonyms - Carex radiata
Native of - See - http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/FLORA/cgi/b98_map?genus=Carex&species=appalachica
USDA Hardiness Zone - zone 5,  most likely 4, maybe 3
Light preference - Full shade to dappled sunlight
Soil fertility preference - Average to poor
Soil moisture preference - Average to well drained
Bloom time - Early to mid spring
Bloom color - inconsequential
Foliage - Medium green,  very fine  texture
Spread - 4"-8" clump
Height - 12" - 24" but it is prostrate and only a few inches high
Landscape uses - Naturalizing in a shade or woodland garden
Medicinal uses - none that I have found

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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
Phone: (304) 497-2208
E-mail: barry@sunfarm.com

Last modified February 24, 2009
URL: http://www.sunfarm.com/picks/carexappalachica1-101121.phtml