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Korean J. Pl. Taxon > Volume 50(2); 2020 > Article
CHUNG, IM, MASAKI, HOSHINO, and LEE: Distribution of Carex nakasimae Ohwi, a Korean endemic sedge (Cyperaceae)


Carex nakasimae Ohwi (Cyperaceae) is an endemic species on the Korean peninsula. This study reports a new locality of the species, updating the distribution map. A new population of the species was found during field surveys in 2014 in a small swamp in Haman-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do province, located in the southeastern part of the Korean peninsula. In the flowering and fruiting periods of the species, the population is associated with ca. 91 vascular plant taxa from 40 families. To conserve the endemic species, maintaining the habitat is critical. Furthermore, taxonomic and phylogenetic positions of the species should be clarified to establish biological conservation strategies for the rare, endemic C. nakasimae.

Carex L. (Cyperaceae) is the most species rich genus in the Korean peninsula although the number of species recognized differs (157–ca.180) depending on the literature cited (Oh, 2007; Park et al., 2016). The genus is the most diverse in the temperate zone with more than 2,000 species worldwide and is often a dominant or co-dominant in various habitats such as deciduous or mixed forests, grasslands and wetlands (Ball and Reznicek, 2002; Global Carex Group, 2015). Out of approximately 180 taxa in Korea, around 10 are endemic, including C. nakasimae Ohwi (Park et al., 2016; Chung et al., 2017).
Carex nakasimae (Hwa-san-sa-cho) is an endemic, rare species described in 1944 from Hwaseong-si city (Gyeonggi-do province), a small city in middle of the Korean peninsula (Figs. 1, 2A) (Ohwi, 1944; Son et al., 2017). Since its description, the species has been barely recognized, possibly due to its rarity and lack of available data. Lee (2003) included the species in the Korean floristic diversity and mentioned that the type specimens was last. Son et al. (2017) designated a lectotype, choosing an isotype in National Museum of Nature and Science herbarium (Fig. 1). Park et al. (2016) placed the species in section Physocarpae Drejer ex L. H. Bailey as did Ohwi (1944) with four other Korean native taxa and considers C. vesicaria L. as the most similar species morphologically.
Carex nakasimae has long rhizomes, 2–3 terminal male spikes, and 2–3 lateral female spikes characterized by lanceolate perigynia with long, bifid, and curved beaks (1–2.5 mm) (Table 1, Figs. 1, 3D) (Lee, 2003; Park et al., 2016). Ohwi (1944) pointed out that the species was distinguished from C. vesiacria by narrow perigynia with bifid, curved beaks. Upo-neup wetland, a large wetland in Gyeongsangnam-do, is the only well-known habitat of the species (Park et al., 2016). This wetland is a nature conservation area composed of four swamps and is number 934 on the Ramsar List (Kim et al., 2011; https://rsis.ramsar.org/ris/934).
During field work in 2014, a new population of Carex nakasimae was found in a small swamp in Haman-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do province (Figs. 2B, 3). The swamp is about 2,328 m2 and branched from Haman-cheon creek, connected with Nakdong-gang river. Nakdon-gang river, the longest river in South Korea, runs 506 km from the Taebaek Mountains to the South Sea or Korean Strait and passes Uponeup wetland as well (Kim et al., 2011).
To understand the ecological features of the population’s habitat, associated species were surveyed from 2014 until 2019 during flowering and fruiting times of C. nakasimae. This study updates the distribution of C. nakasimae and reports a new population with the floristic composition of its habitat.

Materials and Methods

Habitat survey

In the new population of C. nakasimae, associated vascular plant taxa were surveyed and collected in 2015, 2016, and 2019 during flowering and fruiting periods of the species (Fig. 2B). The resulting list of vascular plants follows the nomenclature of The Genera of Vascular Plants of Korea (Park, 2007). Identifications of the taxa were made based on Lee (2003), Park et al. (2016), and Hoshino et al. (2011). Scientific and Korean names of taxa follow the biodiversity portal (https://species.nibr.go.kr/index.do) provided by Korea National Institute of Biological Resources. Biological resources subject to overseas export approval, endemic, introduced, climatesensitive biological indicator species, planted species, and floristic degrees of the species were also determined according to the portal. All voucher specimens and images are deposited at the Department of Division of Biological Science, Chonnam National University herbarium (CNU).

Specimen examination

To make a distribution map, C. nakasimae specimens at the Korean National Arboretum herbarium (KH) and National Institute of Biological Resources herbarium (KB) were examined. The KH houses Carex specimens collected through ‘Research on unidentified native plant name in Korea’ and ‘a taxonomic review of Cyperaceae in Korea’ projects. In addition, the KB stores voucher specimens for various biodiversity research projects such as ‘National Ecosystem Survey’ and ‘the survey of new and unrecorded taxa in vascular plants’. The identifications of all the specimens were evaluated, and 18 verified specimens were utilized for determining the distribution of the species.

Results and Discussion

In the new population of Carex nakasimae, about 91 taxa in 70 genera and 40 families grow during the flowering and fruiting periods of the species (Appendix 1). Cyperaceae is the most dominant with about eight taxa, and Fabaceae and Polygonaceae follow with seven taxa each. For such a small swamp, the site includes important vascular plants from floristic and environmental points of view; it is big enough to provide dynamic micro-habitats. There are nine biological resources subject to overseas export approval taxa and one climate-sensitive Biological Indicator Species designated by Korea Ministry of Environment. Furthermore, two Korean endemic species grow in the swamp: C. nakasimae and Hemerocallis hakuunensis Nakai. Both endemic species are not common and only occur in southern parts of the Korean Peninsula.
In the habitat, tall trees such as Salix chaenomeloides Kimura and S. koreensis Andersson shade on some areas in the swamp. However, some areas are more open and have shallow streams where C. nakasimae grows, as it prefers sunny, wet sites. The C. nakasimae population is in northwest side of swamp, which can only be accessed from the southeastern and northeastern sides, making hard to find it. Although many swamps in Haman-gun have been disturbed by wastewater from pig breeding and agricultural activities, this swamp might have avoided such disturbances.
Currently the distribution of C. nakasimae is restricted to a southeastern province, Gyeongsangnam-do, in Korea although the type locality of C. nakasimae is in a middle region of Korea (Gyeonggi-do province) (Fig. 2A). Park et al. (2016) notes a C. nakasimae collection made in Seoul (Mok-dong) with voucher specimen information (Park s.n., without date, KH). However, we failed to locate the voucher specimen at KH, and none of the specimens found are from Gyeonggi-do province. It is suspected that the type locality and other possible habitats in Gyeonggi-do and Seoul have been destroyed by urbanization (Park et al., 2016). All the habitats of C. nakasimae are wet such as swamps, wetlands, or lakesides. Nakdon-gang river seems to play a very important role for the plant distribution, assisting dispersal and establishment.
The phylogenetic position of C. nakasimae has not been studied although Ohwi (1944) and Park et al. (2016) place the species in Carex section Physocarpae Drejer ex L. H. Bailey. Among five Korean species in the section (C. rhynchophysa C. A. Mey, C. vesicaria L., C. nakasimae, C. rostrata var. borealis (Hartms.) Kük, and C. dickinsii Franch. & Sav.), C. vesicaria assembles with C. nakasimae (Park et al., 2016). C. vesicaria is broadly distributed in Asia, Europe, and North America in wet places (Ball and Reznicek. 2002; Dai et al., 2010). The treatment of the species in Carex section Vesicariae (Heuffel) J. Carey (Reznicek and Ford, 2002; Hoshino et al., 2011) suggests taxonomic research on the entirety of the two sections Physocarpae and Vesicariae is required. Phylogenetic work on Carex section Vesicariae proposes sub-sectional systems (Shekhovtsov et al., 2012), but the study does not include C. nakasimae. The taxonomic and phylogenetic positions of C. nakasimae need to be clarified.
Carex nakasimae is endemic to the Korea peninsula (Park et al., 2016), but it has been under-reported. The species is not included in recent Korea endemic vascular plant diversity studies such as Chung et al. (2017). To establish biological conservation strategies for the species, further research on ecological, taxonomic, and phylogenetic features of C. nakasimae should be conducted. In addition, the new habitat in Haman-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do should be well conserved and maintained for the conservation of the Korean rare, endemic taxa (C. nakasimae and Hemerocallis hakuunensis) in nature.
Specimens examined. KOREA. Gyeongsangnam-do: Changnyeong-gun, Ibang-myeon, Okcheon-ri, Uponeup (swamp), 6 Jun 2013, J.-H. Kim 13-38 (KB); 27 May 2012, J.-H. Kim Carex-Kim199 (KB); 1 Jun 2011, Y. Cho WR-20110601-002 (KH); 1 Jun 2013, Y. H. Cho 1207 (KH); 6 Jun 2013, Y. Cho et al. Uk_v2013038 (KH); Daehap-myeon, Jumae-ri, Uponeup (swamp), 17 May 2009, J.-H. Kim 139 (KB); Yueo-myeon, Sejin-ri, Uponeup (swamp), 28 Jun 2012, H. J. Choi Changnyeong-gun (Uponeup)-120628-001 (KH); Haman-gun, Daesan-myeon, Seochon-ri, 14 Jun 2014, J.-H. Kim 141057 (KB); Gaya-eup, Sanseo-ri, 31 May 2015, K.-S. Chung 1207 (CNU, KH); 22 May 2016, T. Hoshino et al. OKAY-24745 (OKAY); Miryang-si, Samnangjin-eup, Samnang-ri, Milyanggang (river), 11 May 2018, J.-S. Kim MR0082 (KB); Yangsan-si, Wondong-myeon, Yongdang-ri, Wondong (wetland), J-H. Kim 13-36 (KB).


The present research was partially supported by Korean Native Cyperaceae diversity project (Korea National Arboretum). Staff members at Korean National Arboretum herbarium (KH) and Korea National Institute of Biological Resources herbarium (KB) provided assistants for specimen examination; and Dr. Dong Chan Son at the Korean National Arboretum kindly provides the isotype image. We appreciate consistent effort of CEOs (dongdongnagu) to conserve the biodiverse swamp.


Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Fig. 1.
Isotype of Carex nakasimae Ohwi designated by Son et al. (2017).
Fig. 2.
Distribution of Carex nakasimae. A. Distribution in the Korean peninsula. Black star (★) type locality, black circles (●) specimens examined. B. Distribution in Haman-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do. Black circle (●) specimens examined, black triangle (▲) new locality.
Fig. 3.
New population in Haman-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do. A. Habitat in April 2016. B. Habitat in June 2016. C. Population in May 2019, red arrows indicate C. nakasimae individuals. D. C. nakasimae inflorescences with mature perigynia in May 2019.
Table 1.
Diagnostic morphological characters of Carex nakasimae and C. vesicaria.
C. nakasimae C. vesicaria
Leaf width (mm) 3–8 2–3
Perigynium shape Lanceolate Ovoid
Perigynium length (mm) 8–9 6–8
Beak margin Scabrous Smooth
Beak shape Bifid, curved Bidentate

Literature Cited

Ball, PW and Reznicek, AA. 2002. Carex. In Flora of North America North of Mexico. 23: Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Cyperaceae. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.), Oxford University Press, New York. Pp. 254-273.

Chung, GY. Chang, KS. Chung, J-M. Choi, HJ. Paik, W-K and Hyun, J-O. 2017. A checklist of endemic plants on the Korean Peninsula. Korean Journal of Plant Taxonomy 47: 264-288.
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Dai, L. Koyama, T and Tucker, GC. 2010. Carex sect. Physocarpae Drejer ex L. H. Bailey. In Flora of China. 23: Acoraceae through Cyperaceae. Zhengyi, W. Raven, PH. Deyuan, H (eds.), Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St .Louis, MO. Pp. 402-403.

Global Carex Group. 2015. Making Carex monophyletic (Cyperaceae, tribe Cariceae): a new broader circumscription. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 179: 1-42.

Hoshino, T. Masaki, T and Nishimoto, M. 2011. Illustrated Sedges of Japan. Heibonsha Ltd., Tokyo. Pp. 496-497.

Kim, J-W. Ahn, K-H and Lee, C-W. 2011. Natural environment of Upo wetland. Plant Communities of Upo Wetland. Kim, JW. Ahn, KH. Lee, CW. Choi, BK (eds.), Keimyung University Press, Daegu. Pp. 23-26.

Lee, TB. 2003. Coloured Flora of Korea. 2: Hyangmunsa, Seoul. Pp. 580 (in Korean).

Oh, YC. 2007. Cyperaceae Juss. The Genera of Vascular Plants of Korea. Flora of Korea Editorial Committee (ed.), Academy Publishing, Seoul. Pp. 1139-1181.

Ohwi, J. 1944. Cyperaceae Japonicae II. A synopsis of the Rhynchosporoideae and Scirpoideae of Japan including the Kuriles, Saghalin, Korea, and Formosa. Memoirs of the College of Science; Kyoto Imperial University. Series B Biolology, Kyoto. 18: Pp. 1-182.

Park, CW. 2007. The Genera of Vascular Plants of Korea. Academy Publishing, Seoul. Pp. 1482.

Park, S-H. Lee, Y-M. Kim, H-J. Yang, J-C. Jang, C-S. Lee, K-H. Lee, J-S. Han, J-S. Kim, H-J. Jeong, K-S. Son, D-C. Lee, D-H. Joo, M-J. Sun, E-M. Shin, C-H. Choi, K. Oh, S-H. Chang, KS. Jung, S-Y and Ji, S-J. 2016. Illustrated Cyperaceae of Korea. Munyoungsa, Seoul. Pp. 10. Pp. 23-26. Pp. 102. Pp. 230-23. Pp. 549.

Reznicek, AA and Ford, BA. 2002. Carex sect. Phyllostachyae. In Flora of North America North of Mexico. 23: Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Cyperaceae. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.), Oxford University Press, New York. Pp. 501-506.

Shekhovtsov, SV. Shekhovtsova, IN and Peltek, SE. 2012. Phylogeny of Siberian species of Carex sect. Vesicariae based on nuclear and plastid markers. Nordic Journal of Botany 30: 343-351. 2013. 351.
Son, DC. Kim, H-J. Park, SH and Chang, KS. 2017. Lectotypification of Carex nakasimae (Cyperaceae). Journal of Japanese Botany 92: 47-49. 2013. 49.


Appendix 1.

Vascular plants in the new population with images and voucher specimens.

Scientific name (Korean name) Voucher specimen Note*
Equisetaceae (속새과)
  Equisetum arvense L. (쇠뜨기) Lee001
Athyriaceae (개고사리과)
  Athyrium niponicum (Mett.) Hance (개고사리) Lee002
Lauraceae (녹나무과)
  Lindera glauca (Siebold & Zucc.) Blume (감태나무)
Ranunculaceae (미나리아재비과)
  Ranunclus chinensis Bunge (젓가락나물) Chung et al. H005, H004, H003, H002, H001
Papaveraceae (양귀비과)
  Chelidonium majus var. asiaticum (Hara) Ohwi (애기똥풀) Chung et al. H045
Ulmaceae (팽나무과)
  Celtis sinensis Pers. (팽나무) Chung et al. H043
  Ulmus parvifolia Jacq. (참느릅나무) Chung et al. H049 Degree I
Cannabinaceae (삼과)
  Humulus japonicus Siebold & Zucc. (환삼덩굴) Chung et al. H040
Moraceae (뽕나무과)
  Morus bombycis Koidz. (산뽕나무) Chung et al. H010, H009
Urticaceae (쐐기풀과)
  Boehmeria spicata (Thunb.) Thunb. (좀깨잎나무)
Fagaceae (참나무과)
  Quercus aliena Blume (갈참나무)
  Quercus acutissima Carruth. (상수리나무) Chung et al. H064, H063
Phytolaccaceae (자리공과)
  Phytolacca americana L. (미국자리공) Chung et al. H047 In
Amaranthaceae (비름과)
  Achyranthes japonica (Miq.) Nakai (쇠무릎)
Caryophyllaceae (석죽과)
  Sellaria quatica (L.) Scop. (쇠별꽃) Chung et al. H021, H006
Polygonaceae (마디풀과)
  Fallopia dumetorum (L.) Holub (닭의덩굴) Chung et al. H034, H022
  Persicaria japonica (Meisn.) H. Gross ex Nakai (흰꽃여뀌) Chung et al. H018
  Persicaria maackiana (Regel) Nakai ex T. Mori (나도미꾸리낚시) Chung et al. H013, H007
  Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross (며느리배꼽) Chung et al. H060
  Persicaria senticosa (Meisn.) H. Gross ex Nakai (며느리밑씻개)
  Persicaria thunbergii (Siebold & Zucc.) H. Gross (고마리) Chung et al. H020
  Rumex crispus L. (소리쟁이) Chung et al. H059 In
Violaceae (제비꽃과)
  Viola verecunda A. Gray (콩제비꽃) Chung et al. H029
Cucurbitaceae (박과)
  Actinostemma lobatum (Maxim.) Franch. & Sav. (뚜껑덩굴) Degree I
Salicaceae (버드나무과)
  Populus deltoides Marsh (미류나무) Chung et al. H076, H075, H074, H073, H072, H071 Pl
  Salix caprea L. (호랑버들) Chung et al. H069
  Salix chaenomeloides Kimura (왕버들) Chung et al. H070 Degree I
  Salix graciliglans Nakai (눈갯버들) Chung et al. H068
  Salix koreensis Andersson (버드나무) Chung et al. H053, H052, H051, H050
Brassicaceae (십자화과)
  Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. (냉이)
  Cardamine flexuosa With. (황새냉이)
  Thlaspi arvense L. (말냉이) In
  Styracaceae (때죽나무과)
  Styrax japonicus Siebold & Zucc. (때죽나무) BSOA
Rosaceae (장미과)
  Dachesnea chrysantha (Zoll. et Morr.) Miq. (뱀딸기) Lee003
  Prunus jamasakura Siebold ex Koidz. (벚나무) Lee004
  Rosa multiflora Thunb. (찔레나무) Chung et al. H019
  Rubus crataegifolius Bunge (산딸기) Chung et al. H068, H067
  Rubus parvifolius L. (멍석딸기)
  Spiraea prunifolia var. simpliciflora (Nakai) Nakai (조팝나무) Lee005 BSOA
Fabaceae (콩과)
  Amphicarpaea bracteata subsp. edgeworthii (Benth.) H. Ohashi (새콩)
  Astragalus sinicus L. (자운영) In
  Glycine soja Siebold & Zucc. (돌콩) BSOA
  Lespedeza cuneata (Dum. Cours.) G. Don. (비수리) Chung et al. H012, H011 BSOA
  Vicia amoena Fisch. ex Ser. (갈퀴나물)
  Vicia sativa L. (살갈퀴)
  Vicia tetrasperma (L.) Schreb. (얼치기완두)
  Vitaceae (포도과)
  Vitis flexuosa Thunb. (새머루)
Aceraceae (단풍나무과)
  Acer buergerianum Miq. (중국단풍) Chung et al. H044 Pl
  Acer palmatum Thunb. (단풍나무) Chung et al. H048, H036 BSOA, Degree III
Rutaceae (운향과)
  Zanthoxylum schinifolium Siebold & Zucc. (산초나무) BSOA
  Zanthoxylum piperitum DC. (초피나무) BSOA
Apiaceae (미나리과)
  Oenanthe javanica (Blume) DC. (미나리) Lee006 BSOA
  Torilis japonica (Houtt.) DC. (사상자) Chung et al. H061, H058, H057
Boraginaceae (지치과)
  Trigonotis peduncularis (Trevir.) Steven ex Palib. (꽃마리)
Lamiaceae (꿀풀과)
  Agastache rugosa (Fisch. & C. A. Mey.) Kuntze (배초향)
  Leonurus japonicus Houtt. (익모초) Chung et al. H015, H014
  Mosla dianthera (Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb.) Maxim. (쥐깨풀) Lee007
Oleaceae (물푸레나무과)
  Ligustrum obtusifolium Siebold & Zucc. (쥐똥나무) Chung et al. H035
Scrophulariaceae (현삼과)
  Veronica persica Poir. (큰개불알풀) Lee008 CBIS
Rubiaceae (꼭두선이과)
  Galium pogonanthum Franch. & Sav. (산갈퀴)
  Galium spurium L. (갈퀴덩굴) Lee009
  Paederia foetida L. (계요등)
  Rubia argyi (H. Lév. & Vaniot) H. Hara ex Lauener & D. K. Ferguson (꼭두선이)
Asteraceae (국화과)
  Artemisia princeps Pamp. (쑥) Chung et al. H031
  Crepidastrum sonchifolium (Bunge) Pak & Kawano (고들빼기) Chung et al. H032
  Erigeron annuus (L.) Pers. (개망초) Chung et al. H028 In
  Hemistepta lyrata Bunge (지칭개) Lee010
  Lactuca indica L. (왕고들빼기) Chung et al. H037
  Youngia japonica subsp. elstonii (Hochr.) Babc. & Stebbins (뽀리뱅이) Chung et al. H042, H041
Potamogetonaceae (가래과)
  Potamogeton crispus L. (말즘) Lee011, Lee012
Hydrocharitaceae (자라풀과)
  Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle (검정말) Chung et al. H039
Lemnaceae (개구리밥과)
  Spirodela polyrhiza (L.) Schleid. (개구리밥)
Commelidaceae (닭의장풀과)
  Commelina communis L. (닭의장풀) Chung et al. H033
Cyperaceae (사초과)
  Carex breviculmis R. Br. (청사초) Chung6196
  Carex cinerascens Kük. (회색사초) Chung6196
  Carex dimorpholepis Steud. (이삭사초) Chung6196
  Carex dispalata Boott (삿갓사초) Chung6196
  Carex maackii Maxim. (타래사초) Chung6196
  Carex nakasimae Ohwi (화산사초) Chung6196 En
  Carex transversa Boott (화살사초) Chung6196
  Eleocharis sp. (바늘골속) Chung et al. H030
Poaceae (벼과)
  Arthraxon hispidus (Thunb.) Makino (조개풀) Chung et al. H008
  Beckmannia syzigachne (Steud.) Fernald (개피) Chung et al. H062
  Miscanthus sinensis Andersson (억새) Chung et al. H046
  Oplismenus undulatifolius (Ard.) Roem. & Schult. (주름조개풀) Chung et al. H023
  Phalaris arundinacea L. (갈풀) Chung et al. H065
  Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. (갈대) Chung et al. H056, H055, H054
Liliaceae (백합과)
  Hemerocallis hakuunensis Nakai (백운산원추리) Chung et al. H038, H024 En, BSOA
Iridaceae (붓꽃과)
  Iris ensata var. spontanea (Mak.) Nakai (꽃창포) Lee013
Dioscoreaceae (마과)
  Dioscorea batatas Decne. (마) Chung et al. H025
  Dioscorea tokoro Makino (도꼬로마) Chung et al. H027

BSOA: Biological resources subject to overseas export approval; En: Endemic; In: Introduced; CBIS: Climate-sensitive Biological Indicator Species; Pl: Planted.

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