Conserving the starved wood sedge

Staff at Wakehurst Place have reintroduced a critically endangered UK sedge to a site in Surrey.

14 Mar 2011

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Carex depauperata

One of 50 plants of Carex depauperata (starved wood sedge) reintroduced to a site in Surrey (Image: Ted Chapman/RBG Kew)

In September 2010, staff from the Plant Propagation and Conservation Unit at Wakehurst Place reintroduced over 50 plants of the critically endangered Carex depauperata (starved wood sedge) to a newly-coppiced woodland on the Charterhouse Estate near Goldalming, Surrey.

The plants were propagated from a single specimen collected from the small surviving population at the site in 1992. Seed from the plants has been harvested and stored in the Millennium Seed Bank, and the species is in cultivation at Kew and Wakehurst Place.

The reintroduction was carried out in collaboration with the conservation charity Plantlife, who will monitor the establishment of the plants and work with staff and students at Charterhouse School to ensure the site is properly managed.

Carex depauperata survives in only two locations in the UK, in Surrey and Somerset. Its decline is linked to increasing shade and competition in unmanaged woodlands, as well as overgrazing by rabbits and deer.

Item from Ted Chapman (Team Leader, Plant Propagation & Conservation Unit, Wakehurst Place)
Originally published in Kew Scientist, issue 38


Scientific Research and Data   


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