Carex edura


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.

Common Name(s)

Bastard Grass, Hook Sedge

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 edura 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 divaricata Boott; Uncinia compacta R.Br. var. divaricata (Boott) Hook.f.; Uncinia clarkii Petrie; Uncinia compacta R.Br. var. petriei C.b. Clarke; Uncinia compacta R.Br. var. clarkei (Petrie) Kük.; Uncinia divaricata Boott var. petriei (C.B.Clarke) Hamlin


Endemic. New Zealand, North (from the Raukumara Range south), South and Campbell Islands.


Montane to alpine. A species of open forest, scrub, tussock grassland, herbfield, mires, bogs and river beds. Also common on ultramafic soils.


Laxly tufted or shortly rhizomatous dark yellowish green or orange-green plants. Rhizome 1-2 mm. diameter. Culms 10.0-400.0 × 0.5-2.0 mm, erect or ascending, rigid, cartilaginous, subtrigonous, glabrous; basal bracts dull yellow-brown or darker brown. Lvs 4-12 per culm, usually < mature culms but occasionally = or > culms, 1.5-4.0 mm wide, rather soft to coriaceous, dark yellowish green, scabrid on margins. Spikes 10-45 × 4-10 mm, female fls numerous, densely crowded, internodes almost all equal, 0.5-1.0 mm long. Glumes occasionally > utricles in lower part of spike, = or < utricles above, deciduous, subulate or ovate, obtuse to subacute, membranous, hyaline, or light to dark brown and opaque, midrib green with the 3 nerves not very conspicuous, midrib of 1-3 lowest glumes often scabrid and occasionally prolonged in lowermost glume to a scabrid awn. Utricles 3.5–5.0 × 1.0-1.5 mm, trigonous or subtrigonous with conspicuous lateral nerves, greenish brown to dark brown, widely spreading when ripe, contracted below to a broad stipe c.1 mm long, beak 1.0-1.5 mm long

Similar Taxa

Carex edura is a widespread and variable species, of the New Zealand species it is most likely to be confused with C. drucei (Hamlin) K.A.Ford, Carex horizontalis (Colenso) K.A.Ford and possibly C. crispa K.A.Ford. From Carex edura, C. drucei differs by the widely spreading, stoloniferous rather than tufted or shortly rhizomatous growth habit, usually more numerous, much narrower, grass-like, soft rather than harshly scabrid leaves, and by the shorter, oblong rather than broadly pyramidal spikes with smaller dark-brown rather than green-brown to dark brown glossy utricles. From, Carex edura, C. horizontalis differs by the dark yellowish green to reddish green rather than bright green leaves and culms. It also differs by its fewer flowered spikelets and green to grey-brown, dull rather than green-brown to dark brown glossy utricles. Carex crispa is easily distinguished by its much narrower, stiffly erect grass-like involute leaves with twisted/curled (cirrhose) leaf rather than straight apices.


October - November


November - May

Propagation Technique

Very easy from divisions of whole plants and from seed. Does best when planted in full sun in a fertile, free draining but moist soil. Excellent in pots.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 88

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available.

Taxonomic Notes

Carex edura is extremely variable and would repay further critical taxonomic study.


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