Carex flagellifera


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
flagellifera: From the Latin flagrum 'whip' and ferre 'to bear', meaning bearing a whip-like appendage

Common Name(s)

Glen Murray tussock, Trip Me Up

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 flagellifera Colenso



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 lucida Boott


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


Coastal to montane. Usually in free draining soils under scrub or open forest. Rarely in wetlands or in permanently damp, shaded sites.


Usually densely tufted, dark green, yellow-green to red-green plants. Culms 350-750(-900) × 0.5-1.0 mm, or slightly wider, close-packed, trigonous or subtrigonous, smooth or slightly scabrid for a short distance below inflorescence, usually elongating in fruit up to c. 2.8 m, initially erect, soon prostrate and long trailing; basal sheaths dark brown, occasionally tinged with red-purple, nerves ± distinct. Leaves numerous, usually > culms, 1.5-2.5(-4.0) mm. wide, bright shining green, yellow-green or reddish, spreading or drooping at the tips, channelled, margins sharply scabrid. Spikes 4–8; terminal 1-2(-3) spikes male, close together, slender; remaining spikes female, 15-30(-40) × 3–5 mm, usually distant, usually pedunculate but ± erect, often male at the base, rarely male at the top also. Glumes ± = utricles, broadly ovate, usually obtuse, often with fimbriate margins, occasionally almost emarginate, subcoriaceous, dark or light red-brown, occasionally distinctly nerved, midrib distinct and thickened, conspicuously light brown, almost cream, produced to a short, slightly scabrid awn. Utricles 2.0-2.5(-3.0) × c. 1.5 mm, unequally biconvex, almost plano-convex, elliptic-ovoid, light brown at base, usually dark brown towards the top, smooth and shining, or faintly nerved on the more convex face, margins glabrous, rarely very slightly scabrid below beak; beak c. 0.4 mm long, acutely bidentate, margins slightly scabrid; stipe c. 0.3 mm. long. Stigmas 2. Nut < 1.5 mm long, biconvex, ovoid-oblong, dark brown.

Similar Taxa

Carex flagellifera belongs to a complex of allied species which include the South Island, ultramafic endemic C. devia Cheesemanii, C. raoulii Boott, C. testacea Solander ex Boott and C. goyenii Petrie. From all these species it is best distinguished by its usually long trailing fruiting culms, narrow, channelled leaves, and usually distant, pendent female spikes. It is perhaps closest to C. testacea (itself a species complex). From that species, at least in its typical form it differs by the usually yellow-green to dark green, rather than orange-red to red-green culms, and red brown to dark red-brown, subcoriaceous rather than membranous, light brown glumes, which lack the numerous fine, red-brown striae typical of the most widespread form of C. testacea.


September - November


Throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. An attractive sedge whose usually long trailing fruiting culms look spectacular if plants are grown along the top of a wall. Carex flagellifera is a variable species and would repay some horticultural selection.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = c.58

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Nuts surrounded by inflated utricles are dispersed by granivory and wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).


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.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 18 Jun 2015