Carex dissita


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

Common Name(s)

Forest 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 dissita Sol. ex Boott



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



Carex dissita Boott var. monticola Kük.


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


Lowland to montane. Usually in riparian forest, where it may be abundant along stream sides.


Shortly rhizomatous; green leafy tufts, drooping above, 0.15-1.00 m high. Culms 0.5–1.5(-1.7) mm diameter, trigonous, striated, edges smooth; basal sheaths light brown, grey-brown or often dark red-purple. Leaves > or < culms, 1.5-5.0 mm wide, double-folded, bright green or yellow-green, or red-green with red margins and midvein red abaxially, margins finely scabrid. Spikes 4-8; terminal spike male, rarely with a few female flowers at the top or with 1-2 very small male spikes at the base; remaining spikes female, usually with a few male flowers at the base, more rarely male at the top, 5-30 × 4–6 mm, uppermost spikes erect on very short peduncles, ± distant, lowest spike often quite remote and drooping from a slender peduncle. Glumes (excluding awn) slightly < utricles, ovate, emarginate to almost entire, pale reddish green or light brown, to dark red-brown with paler margins, membranous, midrib broad, pale brown, occasionally bright red-purple or straw-coloured, with 3 distinct, almost white, nerves produced to a usually short scabrid mucro. Utricles 2.0-3.0 × c. 1.5 mm, biconvex, turgid, ovoid, yellow-brown or cream at the base, red-purple to almost black above, abaxial face usually lighter coloured and more distinctly nerved than the other, margins occasionally very finely scabrid below the beak; beak c. 0.5 mm long, almost white, deeply bifid with divergent crura, orifice scabrid; stipe c. 0.3 mm. long. Stigmas 3. Nut c. 1.5 mm long, trigonous, ovoid, light brown.

Similar Taxa

The distant, dark brown, rather short and stout, usually shortly pedunculate female spikes are a characteristic feature of this species. The utricles are also distinctly bicoloured basally cream to yellow brown and red-purple to black above. This feature helps distinguish this species from C. solandri Boott in Hook.f., a species with which it is most often confused, and which usually has uniformly dark coloured utricles (rarely light brown and pale yellow near the base). Carex solandri further differs from C. dissita by its long filiform peduncles. The two species often grow together.


August - November


October - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. A popular species in cultivation, though many plants sold as this species are in fact C. solandri. Excellent for a permanently damp situation in a shaded site but will tolerate full sun and dry conditions once established.


Not Threatened

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (10 August 2006). 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 18 Jun 2015