Carex secalina

Carex secalina Willd. ex Wahlenb. (E-Eur., As.) – An exceptional alien of uncertain origin. Discovered on ground heaps on a former railway yard near the port of Gent in 2009 (5-10 specimens in various stages of development, some surely more than one year old). According to Lembicz & al. (2009) Carex secalina does not flower in the first three years; hence, it must have been present for some time in Gent prior to its discovery. In the very same area occurs Sisymbrium volgense. Carex secalina is a very rare and critically endangered species in its native habitats (mainly margins of salt lakes) in Europe (Zukowski & al. 2005, Lembicz & al. 2009). However, it seems to have been able to survive in man-made habitats: in Austria Carex secalina recently also occurs on railway yards and in sand pits (Hohla 1998, Hohla & al. 1998) and newly discovered populations in Poland also included anthropogenic habitats (near recent water reservoirs). It is also more common in the former USSR and the plants from Gent most likely originate there. It was probably introduced decades ago, along with Sisymbrium volgense, possibly with cereals. It most likely arose from a long-buried seed bank (see also Zukowski & al. l.c., Lembicz & al. l.c.). Recent adventive records were recently also reported from the United States (Werier & Naczi 2012).

Herbarium specimen

 Gent, ground heaps, 06.2009, Filip Verloove Gent, ground heaps, 06.2009, Filip Verloove

Selected literature

Dominiak M. & Jakubas E. (2015) A new locality of weeping alkaligrass Carex secalina (Cyperaceae) in Poland. Steciana 19(1): 33-37. [available online at:]

Eliáš P. jun., Grulich V., Dítě D. & Senko D. (2012) Distribution and ecology of Carex secalina in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae 81(2): 87-92. [available online at:]

Hohla M. (1998) Flora der Bahnanlagen im Bereich von Schärding bis Wels. ÖKO-L 20(2): 3-19.

Hohla M., Kleesadl G. & Melzer H. (1998) – Floristisches von den Bahnanlagen Oberösterreichs. Beitr. Naturk. Oberösterreichs 6: 139-301. [available online at:]

Lembicz M., Bogdanowicz A.M., Chmiel J. & Zukowski W. (2009) Carex secalina (Cyperaceae), a critically endangered species of Europe: historic and new localities in Poland. Acta Soc. Bot. Polon. 78(4): 311-320.

Werier D.A. & Naczi R.F.C. (2012) Carex secalina (Cyperaceae), an Introduced Sedge New to North America. Rhodora 114: 349-365 [available online at:]

Zukowski W., Lembicz M., Olejniczak P., Bogdanowicz A., Chmiel J. & Rogowski A. (2005) Carex secalina (Cyperaceae), a species critically endangered in Europe: from propagule germination to propagule production. Acta Soc. Bot. Polon. 74(2): 141-147.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith