T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Carex pendula (Hanging sedge) Exotic

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Carex
Species: C. pendula
Binomial name: Carex pendula
Common name: Hanging sedge, Pendulous sedge, Drooping sedge, Weeping sedge, Otahuna sedge

Carex pendula is a tall spreading and fast growing perennial sedge native to Europe, W. Asia, N. Africa. It was introduced to New Zealand where it is now has been banned in New Zealand after it was listed as invasive species. It is now illegal under the Biosecurity Act to propagate, distribute or sell this plant - either casually or through nurseries - but existing plants are still allowed on private properties.

Carex pendula grow on stream banks but can thrive in conditions ranging from wetlands through to open forest areas. It is relatively rare in the wild but is now spreading vigorously along the sides of the Heathcote River in Christchurch. It is sometimes grown as a garden plant because of its distinctive appearance. Carex pendula is a problem because of its large size and prolific seeding as it can displace native species in a range of habitats.
Carex pendulais is the tallest-growing and broadest-leaved sedge in New Zealand. It smooth, stems are up to 2.5 m tall and are three-sided in cross-section with rounded angles.  
The long, hairless leaves are yellowish-green above and glaucous below and are 8 to 20 mm wide.
During spring through to midsummer, it bears distinctive, drooping flower-spikes which are up to 15 cm long. There are 1–2 male spikes at the top of the stem with usually 4–5 female spikes below them. The male spikes are 55–160 mm long while the females spikes are 50–260 mm long and 5–7 mm wide. The fruits are green-brown and 3-5 mm long with a 1–2.5-mm beak.




The male Carex pendula inflorescence is on the stems end. The rest further down the stem are females.




The male Carex pendula inflorescence


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