Species Factsheets

Carex paupercula

Bog Sedge

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State Status: Pennsylvania Rare (PR)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Rare (PR)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G5 rank interpretation
State Rank: S3

Carex paupercula


Bog sedge (Carex paupercula) is a plant of glacial bogs and peatlands that is found at scattered sites in northeastern and northwestern Pennsylvania. This species is one of the easiest to identify of the one hundred and sixty seven species of Carex that grow in Pennsylvania. It has the male and female flowers arranged on separate spikes. The male flowers are in an erect spike at the tip of the flowering stem. The female flowers form one to four drooping lateral spikes that are characterized by their broad shape and long scales with extended tips. Only one other sedge is similar - mud sedge (Carex limosa), which is also a plant of sphagnum bogs, has shorter pistillate scales and more prominent rhizomes.

Rank Justification

Vulnerable in the nation or state due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.


Bog sedge grows in sphagnum and hemlock dominated depressions in a mosaic of drier upland forest on the terminal moraine of the Wisconsinan glaciation.

Survey Dates

Flowers May - July; fruits June - August




There is no evidence of impact by invasive species; however, browsing by deer may be a problem.


The high moisture level, low nutrient status, and extreme acidity of the habitat in which bog sedge grows protect it from most types of disturbance.

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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