CPC Plant Profile: Roan Mountain Sedge
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Plant Profile

Roan Mountain Sedge (Carex roanensis)

  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Cyperaceae
  • State: GA, KY, NC, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV
  • Nature Serve ID: 145979
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/05/1993

After this sedges original discovery in 1936, it was not seen again until its rediscovery fifty years later. The original 1936 population has never been relocated. Due to the lack of information on this species, there is a great deal of debate over its taxonomic status. However, despite claims that it could be a hybrid, this plants seeds breed true, supporting its status as a separate species. We know this because of work by the North Carolina Arboretum to cultivate Roan Mountain sedge as part of their collection. Despite problems with fungal infections, they have managed to maintain a group of plants grown from seed collected from Tennessee populations and are working to improve cultivation techniques. As a result of this work, these plants are now grown in outdoor beds to combat die-offs caused by fungus. It is hoped that this will stabilize the cultivated populations to provide material for additional research (NCA 1996).

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Currently known from 44 populations in the southern Appalachian mountains, but this species has been overlooked in the field and more populations may be found (Smith et al. 2006). On the other hand, population census data are not available in many places and most documented populations are small.

  • 01/01/2010

Fungal damage to cultivated plants (Fusarium crown rot) has kept North Carolina Arboretum from maintaining individual plants beyond two years of age (NCA 1996).

  • 01/01/2010

There are six small populations: four in Tennessee (one in Unicoi Co., two in Carter Co. and one on Roan Mountain), one in North Carolina and one in Georgia. It is also known to exist in Virginia, where it is less rare. (Chester et al. 1993; NatureServe 2001)

  • 01/01/2010

The North Carolina Arboretum is working on improving cultivation techniques for this species.

  • 01/01/2010

Three of the Carter Co. populations are located on U.S. Forest Service property and are being monitored along with the species habitat by officials of Cherokee National Forest (NCA 1996).

  • 01/01/2010

Additional taxonomic research to clarify the status of this species so that it can be listed.


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Taxon Carex roanensis
Authority F.J. Hermann
Family Cyperaceae
CPC Number 786
ITIS 39785
Common Names Roan Mountain sedge
Associated Scientific Names Carex roanensis
Distribution Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. It is also historically known in Kentucky. (NatureServe 2001)
State Rank
State State Rank
Georgia S1
Kentucky S1
North Carolina S2
Pennsylvania S1
South Carolina SNR
Tennessee S2
Virginia S2
West Virginia S1

Boulder fields and exposed granite ledges with rich soils in mesic forests at about 4700 feet (Hermann 1947). Associated with beech and birch trees (NatureServe 2001).

Ecological Relationships

None known.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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