Carex horizontalis


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 horizontalis (Colenso) 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 caespitosa var. minor Kük.; Uncinia horizontalis Col.; Uncinia rupestris Raoul


Endemic. New Zealand: North, South and Chatham Islands.


A mainly forest dwelling species. Mostly montane in the North Island (300-1000 m a.s.l.) but becoming more common in lowland areas in the southern South Island. Irrespective of altitude common throughout forested areas on the Chatham Islands.


Plants loosely tufted or forming a dense turf. Culms 100.0–400.0 x c.0.5 mm, drooping or nodding, glabrous, usually slightly scabrid just below inflorescence; basal bracts light brown, not shining. Leaves widely spreading, 4–7 per culm, < mature culms, c.1.5–2.0 mm wide, bright green, soft, channelled, scabrid on margins and upper surface towards apex. Spikes 30-60 x 3–5 mm., occasionally bracteate, female flowers 5–33, lax towards base of spike with internodes to 6 mm long, more crowded above with internodes 0.5–1.0 mm long. Glumes ± = or us. < utricles, deciduous, ovate, acute or acuminate, hyaline with green midrib or very pale brown. Utricles 4.5–6.0 x 1.0–1.5 mm, ovate-lanceolate, trigonous, green to greenish brown, usually smooth except for a prominent lateral nerve but occasionally with a few less distinct nerves, somewhat spreading when ripe, slightly contracted below to a stipe c.1.0–1.5 mm long, tapering above to a beak of 1–2 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Carex horizontalis is closely allied to Carex minor (Kük.) K.A.Ford (a species many regard as part of C. horizontalis). In the field C. horizontalis can be distinguished from Carex minor by its densely leafy, tufted, rather than loosely tufted growth habit, leaves which are 1.5-2.0 mm rather than < 1 mm wide, and utricles which are 1.0-1.5 mm rather than c.1 mm diameter. Carex minor tends to flower earlier (September – October) than C. horizontalis (October – November).


October - December


December - April (-July)

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by division of established plants - though these may take a while to settle. Prefers a permanently damp, shaded site in a deep rich soil.


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).

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