Species Factsheets

Carex careyana

Carey's Sedge

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State Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G4G5 rank interpretation
State Rank: S1

Did You Know?

This species has sharply angular perigynia and sharply angular achenes. Most sedges have perigynia and achenes that are either non-angular or only bluntly angular.

Carex careyana


Carey's sedge (Carex careyana) is a grass-like plant that reaches 30-60cm in height. It grows in dense tufts and has a distinctive purplish color at the base of each leafy stem. The leaves are linear, elongate, and are relatively wide, up to 18mm. The individual flowers are tiny and are grouped in all male or all female clusters along the stem. The female spikes contain four to nine sac-like structures (perigynia) that are strongly triangular in cross-section and relatively large, 5-7mm long when compared to related species.

Rank Justification

Critically imperiled in the nation or state because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state.


The PA Biological Survey considers Carey's sedge to be a species of special concern, based on the very few occurrences that have been confirmed and the specialized and infrequent habitat. It has been assigned a rarity status of Endangered.


The species grows in woodlands with a limestone or calcareous substrate.

Survey Dates

Flowers, fruits May - June


In Pennsylvania, the few known occurrences are located in the western half of the state.



Carey's sedge is a plant of calcareous woodlands, and has threats from quarrying, invasive species, and logging.


Creating buffers around fragmented habitat and controlling of invasive species would be beneficial in protecting occurrences.

Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.


  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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