Carex flaviformis


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

Common Name(s)

Yellow 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 flaviformis Nelmes



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





Indigenous. New Zealand: North (Cape Palliser), South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. Also in Tasmania


Coastal to alpine (up to 1400 m a.s.l.). In the northern part of its South Island range it is usually found well inland. However in the North and Chatham Islands, and in parts of its range on Stewart Island it is mostly found in permanently damp coastal and lowland turfs often bordering slowly flowing streams and wetlands.


Yellow-green to yellow, rather stiffly tufted sedge. Culms 50–300 x 1.0–1.5 mm, smooth, trigonous, lower half usually ensheathed by leaves; basal bracts cream to dark grey, rarely reddish. Leaves much > culms, 2–3 mm. wide, initially double-folded but maturing almost flat, margins and keel scabrid towards the tip with small, close-set teeth. Inflorescence of 3–8 yellow-green, sessile, densely crowded spikes forming a head up to 30 mm long and up to 25 mm diameter, occasionally all spikes androgynous, or terminal spike male, 10–20 mm x 1.5–2.0 mm, lateral spikes female or androgynous, upper more often androgynous, lower more often female, 6–15 x 6–8 mm.; bracts subtending inflorescence leaf-like, often overtopping the foliage leaves. Glumes much < utricles, oblong-ovate, obtuse, membranous, white, sometimes tinged with brown, the centre green, with white midrib not usually excurrent. Utricles 3.5–4.5 × c. 1.5 mm., inflated or subtrigonous, ovoid, rather bright yellow-green, spreading when mature, nerves well-marked; beak 1.0–1.5 mm long, very narrow, green, papillose, shortly bifid with scabrid orifice or almost entire; stipe minute or absent. Stigmas 3. Nut c.1.5 mm long, trigonous with thickened angles, especially near centre of nut, obovoid, light yellow-brown.

Similar Taxa

The yellow-green to yellow leaves and yellow-green utricles immediately distinguish Carex flaviformis from all but the naturalised C. demissa Hornem. Carex demissa differs from C. flaviformis by the male spike which is shortly pedunculate rather than sessile; and by the female spikes which are not very closely clustered (rather than closely clustered) at the base of the male spike, typically with lowest rather distant.


October - January


December - June

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by division of established plants. Tolerant of a wide range of conditions but prefers full sun and permanently damp substrate. The yellowish foliage is rather attractive.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = c.64

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