Carex cyanea


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

Common Name(s)

Bastard Grass, Hook 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 cyanea 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 leptostachya Raoul


Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (southern third only), South Island (mostly eastern, as far south as Dunedin, very scarce in the west)


Mostly coastal, in open forest and scrub, rarely bordering wetlands and saltmarsh.


Rather stout, wiry, densely tufted, glaucous to dark green plants. Culms 300–700 mm long, < 1 mm diameter, initially distinctly scabrid above, becoming faintly so when mature; lower basal sheaths dark brown, uppermost sheath bright pink above. Leaves 1-3 per culm, < culms, usually c. 1 mm wide and involute, rarely up to 2 mm wide and flat, scabrid on the margins and upper surface. Spikes 40-150 × 2–3 mm, female flowers c. 10-20(-26), distant, internodes up to 15 mm long at base of spike, decreasing to 4 mm long above. Glumes < utricles, persistent, ± obtuse, subcoriaceous, or membranous, midrib conspicuous, green, remainder hyaline, colourless or red-tinged. Utricles 5-7 × c.1 mm, plano-convex, oblong, nerved on the dorsal side, scarcely stipitate, very slightly narrowed to a scabrid beak slightly < 2 mm long

Similar Taxa

The scabrid utricles and lax-flowered inflorescences are also typical of Carex healyi K.A.Ford and C. subviridis K.A.Ford, two species which are usually found well inland in densely forested habitats. From these Carex cyanea differs by the narrow, inrolled usually glaucous leaves. The uppermost leaf-sheath of Carex cyanea is pinkish coloured like C. erythrovaginata K.A.Ford. However that species differs by the glabrous utricles and wider, usually flat leaves. Carex cyanea could be confused with C. strictissima (Kük.) K.A.Ford which has red-coloured sheaths, however, that species has a very distinctive rush like growth habit.


October - November (-December)


November - July

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by division of established plants. Prefers a permanently moist, peaty soil but will grow in most substrates. Best in semi-shade.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 88

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not Commercially Available


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