Carex banksiana


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
banksiana: Named after Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, GCB, PRS (24 February 1743 - 19 June 1820) was an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences.

Common Name(s)

Fine-leaved Bastard Grass

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Carex banksiana K.A.Ford



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Uncinia banksii Boott;Uncinia riparia R.Br. var. banksii (Boott) C.B.Clarke; Uncinia capillaris Col.


Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (Te Paki to the southern Waikato and Bay of Plenty, thence mostly in west to about Wellington), South Island (North-West Nelson, Marlborough Sounds, Canterbury and Otago)


Next to Carex uncinata Linn.f. one of the most common species of northern coastal and lowland forest and scrub.


Densely tufted, bright green to blue-green plants. Culms 100-350 mm long, much < 0.5 mm diameter, glabrous, terete; basal bracts dull reddish brown. Leaves 3-6 per culm, = or > culm, 0.5-1.5 mm wide, very soft, harshly scabrid on margins and upper surface towards the long filiform tip. Spikes 30-70 × 1-2 mm, occasionally bracteate, female flowers c.5-10, all distant, internodes 1-10 mm. long, male glumes scarcely imbricating. Glumes much < utricles, deciduous, ovate or oblong, acute or acuminate, hyaline with a green midrib. Utricles 4.5-6 mm long, slightly < 1 mm diameter, plano-convex or terete, narrow-lanceolate or oblong, strongly nerved, rarely smooth, green to very pale brown, not spreading at maturity, distinctly contracted to a stipe 0.5-1.0 mm long, beak 1.0-1.5 mm long

Similar Taxa

Carex hamlinii K.A.Ford although a much larger plant could be confused with C. banksiana. However, C. hamlinii usually grows in cooler habitats away from the coast or at higher altitudes than U. banksii, and both species have yet to be found growing sympatrically. From C. hamlinii, C. banksiana differs by its smaller stature, by the glumes which are hardly overlapping and by the more distant female flowers. C.subviridis K.A.Ford, another fine-leaved species may also be confused with has a superficial resemblance to C. banksiana. Both species have a similar gracile growth habit, and rather fine light-green leaves and lax inflorescences. However, Carex subviridis is a larger plant closer set flowers, and with scabrid rather than glabrous utricles.


October - November


November - April (but old inflorescences present throughout the year)

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by division of established plants. Does best in a free draining soil, in a semi-shaded site


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 88

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970). Fact sheet prepared by Peter J. de Lange 17 August 2006.

References and further reading

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington.

This page last updated on 26 Aug 2015