Carex kobomugi - Ohwi
Japanese Sedge
Other English Common Names: Asiatic Sand Sedge
Other Common Names: Japanese sedge
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Carex kobomugi Ohwi (TSN 39406)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.156607
Element Code: PMCYP036V0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Sedge Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Cyperaceae Carex
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Carex kobomugi
Taxonomic Comments: Asiatic species established as an invasive alien in several East Coast U.S. states and in Oregon; considered distinctive and readily identifiable in North America despite the numerous native sedges.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
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United States Delaware (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), Virginia (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States DEexotic, MA, MDexotic, NCexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, RIexotic, VAexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Carex kobomugi is a species that was intentionally planted in some places along the Atlantic seaboard, as well as accidentally introduced. It is known from Massachusetts south to North Carolina, however, not continuously. This species is a dune stabilizer and catches sand blow around by the wind, stabilizing the sand as well as creating more habitat for itself. It is difficult to address the ecological impact of this species since there are other native plants that occur in the same areas that perform the same dune-stabilizing function. The Asiatic sand sedge does outcompete native species and is an aggressive spreader. At two of the sites in New Jersey where this species was found, it has spread 300% and 780% over 20 years. Long distance dispersal is also suspected since this species' seeds probably tolerate salt water and could be carried away by ocean currents. Finally, this species is known to invade pristine dunes and impact the federally listed Seabeach amaranth. While this species is an aggressive spreader where it is established, impacts the dune ecology where it is found, and outcompetes native plants, it is currently known from a relatively small area in the United States. Control and management of this species is important to curb its spread into other states.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 25Jan2007
Evaluator: Oliver, L.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Carex kobomugi is native to the coasts of Japan, China and Korea (McGough 2003).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This species is known from Massachusetts south to North Carolina, and it is also reported in Oregon (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: The Asiatic Sand Sedge is found in coastal areas on dunes. It was introduced into North America by shipwrecks carrying cargo packed with the plant. Later, it was intentionally planted in the United States as a dune stabilizer to prevent erosion (McGough et al. 2003).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Moderate significance
Comments: The Asiatic sand sedge is known as a dune stabilizer, and creates more habitat for itself by trapping sand blown in the wind, ultimately forming dunes (Lea and McLaughlin 2005). It is difficult to assess the abiotic impact this species has on the dune environment given that other native species perform the same dune-stabilizing function (e.g. American beach grass Lea and McLaughlin (2003)). With this said, it is suggested that when this sedge is present on the dunes, the dunes are vulnerable to shifting sands and blowouts (Virginia Native Plant Society). While no information was found suggesting the following, this species does probably also alter the amount of nutrients in the sandy soils, given that while alive it takes resources from other native plants and once dead, provides detritus that usually isn't in the environment, ultimately altering the nutrient cycling. Overall, this species certainly does have an impact on the ecological system, where it occurs but the extent is unknown given that other native species peform the same primary function as dune stabilizers.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Moderate significance
Comments: This species grows in dune environments and is an herbaceous plant, ultimately affecting one vegetative layer. It is noted too, that this species can spread into the back dune habitat where other dune plants don't thrive (Wooten 2002).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High significance
Comments: At two sites in New Jersey where this species was thoroughly studied, data indicate that its spread over 20 years was more than 300%, and 780% (Wooten 2005). It is known that it negatively impacts pristine dune communities and can reduce native species abundance by 50% and even 75% (Wooten 2005).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Moderate significance
Comments: In areas where Carex kobomugi was sampled several native species were reduced by 50% including the following: Ammophila breviligulata, Solidago sempervirens, Euphorbia polygonifolia and Schizachyrium scoparium (Wooten 2003).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Moderate significance
Comments: It is noted that this species has invaded some pristine dunes, and has impacted the federally listed Amaranthus pumilus (Wooten 2005).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: This species occurs from Massachusetts south to North Carolina. It is also reported in Oregon (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Since this species is a a dune stabilizer it is found along the coast (Lea and McLaughlin 2005). No reports were found of this species occurring further inland.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Low significance
Comments: This species is found in a few to one biogeographical unit, since it's a coastal species.

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Insignificant
Comments: The Asiatic sand sedge is found on primary dunes and on the upper parts of ocean beach wash flats which have been recently disturbed by ocean storms (Lea and McLaughlin 2005).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: No reports were found indicating that the generalized range of this species is spreading. It is very possible, however, that it could spread into other states given that it is likely its seeds are tolerant of salt water immersion and could be carried by ocean currents (Lea and McLaughlin 2005).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: This species is currently known from a portion of the Atlantic sea board, however, could spread further north of Massachusetts or further south from North Carolina.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: It is expected that the seeds of this species are salt water tolerant and could be carried away by ocean currents to new locations. Also, this species spreads primarily via vegetative means and plant fragments could also be dispersed by currents (Lea and McLaughlin 2005).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High significance
Comments: At two sites in New Jersey the total area this species has spread increased 300% and 780%, respectively at the two sites, from 1985 to 2003 (Wooten 2005).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Once established in an area this species can invade pristine dune areas, as reported by Wootton (2005). It seems likely, given that it probably does have the capability to be dispersed long distances, to invade in other coastal states.

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Not ranked
Comments: No information was found regarding this species as a non-native invader in other countries.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance
Comments: Carex kobomugi spreads primarily by vegetative means through the spread of rhizomes. Sexual reproduction is possible, however, probably occurs much less often given that plants are male and female and must be exposed to one another for seeds/seedlings to be produced (Lea and McLaughlin 2005).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Mechanical and manual methods are effective at removing this species. This species does require careful implementation of control methods to avoid breaking the underground rhizomes, which could lead to further spread (Lea and McLaughlin 2005). Furhter it is noted that to completely remove this species from a site, multiple chemical applications over time would be necessary (McGough et al. 2003).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:High/Low significance
Comments: The time required to control this species wasn't specifically addressed in sources consulted, however, it does take more than a year to control this species (McGough et al. 2003).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Medium/Low significance
Comments: There are some impacts to native species given that herbicide control is one of the effective methods of controlling this species (McGough et al. 2003, Lea and McLaughlin 2005).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Insignificant
Comments: Since this species occurs on dunes, accessibility doesn't appear to be an issue.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Lea, C. and G. McLaughlin. 2005. Factsheet: Asiatic sand sedge. Carex kobomugi Ohwi. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group. Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas. Available at: http://www.nps.gov/plants.alien.

  • McGough, A., K. Bevaart, J. Ondreika, P. Patel, and L. Wootton. 2003. Effectiveness of low-impact management strategies for eradication of Carex kobomugi (Asian sand sedge) from dune communities within NewJersey's coastal parks. 5-page Extended Abstract. In Coastal Zone 2003 Conference Proceedings.

  • Virginia Native Plant Society. Invasive alien plant species of Virginia Asiatic Sand Sedge (Carex kobomugi ) Ohwi. VNPS P.O. box 844, Annandale, VA 22003. Available online at: http://www.state.va.us/dcr/dnh/fscako.pdf.

  • Wootton, L.S. 2003. Spread rate and changes in species diversity associated with the introduced Asiatic sand sedge, Carex kobomugi, in New Jersey caostal dune communities. 5-page Extended Abstract. Coastal Zone 2003 Conference Proceedings.

  • Wootton, LS. 2002 Chance conversation plants the seeds for NJ Sea Grant Research project. The Jsersy Shoreline. Winter 2002. pp. 12-14. Available online at: http://gcuonline.georgian.edu/wootto_1/Aliens.htm.

  • Wootton, LS. 2005. No title. Information on Carex kobomugi. Available at: http;//gcuonline.georgian.edu/wootton_1/Carexkobomugi.htm.

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