Carex forsteri


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

Common Name(s)

Forsters 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 forsteri Wahl.



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 recurva Schkuhr; Carex punctulata A.Rich.; Carex semiforsteri C.B.Clarke


Endemic. New Zealand: North and South Islands. In the North Island common south of Auckland, in the South Island common in Marlborough Sounds and on Banks Peninsula, otherwise sporadic in its occurrences and not recorded from Westland or Fiordland.


Coastal to montane (rarely subalpine). Usually in dense forest within high rainfall areas where it grows in wet seepages, depressions and along stream banks. A common species of karst country where it is often very conspicuous around sinkholes (tomo) and at cave entrances. Occasionally found around seepages in tall tussock grassland


Large leafy tufts. Culms up to 0.9 m tall, 1.0-2.5 mm diameter, trigonous, smooth or occasionally slightly scabrid below inflorescence; basal sheaths dark red-brown. Leaves much > culms, up to 1.2 m long, 3-12 mm wide, double-folded, keel and margins scabrid. Inflorescence of 4-8 spikes; terminal 1-3 spikes wholly or partly male; remaining spikes female with some male flowers at the base, 25-110 × 5-11 mm, ± distant, ± pedunculate, lowest peduncles often long and slender and spikes drooping, green to grey-green. Glumes 2–5 mm. long, lanceolate, gradually tapering to a scabrid awn, membranous, light brown, with a narrow green midrib. Utricles = or slightly > glumes, 4-5 × c.1 mm, subtrigonous, lanceolate, slightly reflexed, turgid towards the base, distinctly many-nerved, greenish brown, gradually tapering to a beak 1.5-2.0 mm long with an oblique, bifid, scabrid orifice. Stigmas 3. Nut 1.5-2.0 mm long, trigonous, elliptic-obovoid, cream to dark brown

Similar Taxa

Easily distinguished from other wide-leaved carices by the absence of cross-veinlets, and long pedunculate spikes whose utricles have an oblique orifice of the utricle. Most likely to be confused with C. cockayneana (see under that species)


September - November


October - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. Excellent for a permanently damp situation in a shaded site where it does best planted within a rich soil.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 60

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