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A Floridata Plant Profile #775 Carex oshimensis
Common Names: Oshima sedge, Oshima kan suge, Japanese sedge grass
Family: Cyperaceae (sedge Family)
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Grass  Perennial  Can be Grown in Containers Has evergreen foliage Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage

'Gold Strike' carex
This is the Carex oshimensis cultivar 'Gold Strike'.
Description
Oshima sedge is represented in cultivation mainly by two cultivars: 'Gold Strike' and 'Evergold' which also is known as 'Aureo-variegata', 'Everbrite' 'Old Gold', and 'Variegata'. These are sometimes listed as cultivars of Carex morrowii or C. hachiijoensis). Oshima sedge is an evergreen or semi-evergreen clump-forming perennial with grasslike leaves. It grows in a dense tussock, 10-20 in (25.4-50.8 cm) high, that spreads out slowly by short underground rhizomes.

Floridata Tidbit: Rhizomes are thickened, horizontal, underground, modified stems with scalelike leaves; rhizomes develop roots and shoots at their nodes. Stolons are thin elongate horizontal branches, on or below the ground, that root and produce new plants at their nodes and tips. Runners are like stolons, but produce roots and new plants only at their tips.

Oshima sedge has narrow leaves, 1/4 in (0.6 cm) wide, and about 10-15 in (25.4-38.1 cm) long, that arch upward, then out, in a picturesque weeping habit. The leaves of 'Evergold' are dark green with a broad creamy yellow stripe down the middle. Those of 'Gold Stripe' have a brighter, more golden central stripe. (Really, the leaves could be described as yellow or gold with green margins.) In spring Oshima sedge bears ornamentally insignificant brown flower spikes on 6 in (15.2 cm) triangular stems.

Location
Oshima sedge is native to the Japanese main island of Honshu where it is common in dry woods and rocky hillsides. The ornamental cultivars were selected long ago by Japanese gardeners who have always had a special love for plants with variegated foliage.

Culture
Light: Grow Oshima sedge in full sun or dappled shade. In warm climates this sedge can be grown in nearly full shade but it probably will become spindly.
Moisture: Oshima sedge grows best in moist but well drained soils. Many sedges are wetland plants, but Oshima sedge is not.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 9. Oshima sedge suffers in hot summers.
Propagation: Propagate cultivars of Oshima sedge by dividing off pieces of the rhizomes.

Usage
The graceful weeping habit and elegant fine textured foliage of Oshima sedge make it well suited to the formal border. Use it as an accent, in masses as a ground cover, or in a hanging basket where its lush golden foliage can spill over the sides. Golden-striped Oshima sedge makes a bold edging for borders or beds. Use it to brighten up a semishady corner. Usually evergreen (evergold!), Oshima sedge is often used in rock gardens and alongside pools.

Features
There are more than 1,500 species of sedges in the genus Carex. Most are grasslike wetland plants and the cultivated species are generally grown for their attractive, often variegated, sometimes weeping, foliage. Even the experts have trouble identifying sedges to species, but we can at least tell a sedge from a grass (family Poaceae or Gramineae): The flowering stems of sedges are triangular in cross section, solid, and do not have nodes; the flowering stems of grasses are round, usually hollow, and have nodes.

Floridata has more sedges for you to see. Weeping sedge (C. pendula) is another handsome choice for the garden that grows into a 3 ft (0.9 m) clump. The palm sedge (C. phyllocephala) has a whorl of leaves at the top of 2 ft (0.6 m) stems that look like miniature palm trees.

Steve Christman 8/23/00; updated 1/20/04




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