Carex hectorii


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
hectorii: Named after Sir James Hector, 19th century New Zealand geologist and botanist who was originally from Scotland

Common Name(s)

Hectors 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 hectorii Petrie



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





Endemic. North and South Islands. In the North Island known only from Mt Taranaki (Eganaki/Taramont) and adjacent Pouakai Range. In the South Island widespread in Nelson and Central Otago.


A species of montane, subalpine to alpine wetlands, favouring flushes, cushion bogs, seepages or the margins of tarns, ponds usually within tussock grassland.


Shortly rhizomatous, loosely tufted blue-green to red-green sedge of open damp ground, seepages, and flushes in tussock grassland, or fringing cushion bogs, tarns and ponds. Culms 20-120 x 0.5 mm, usually obscured within light brown leaf-sheaths. Leaves longer than culms, 0.5-1.5 mm wide, blue-green (rarely wine red, red-green to bright green), erect, rigid, lamina plano-convex at the base but flattening or occasionally subtrigonous towards the subacute apex, margins distinctly scabrid near the apex. Inflorescence of 3-4 contiguous, sessile or shortly pedunculate spikes 0.5-15 mm long. Spikes subtended by rigid, leaf-like bracts; these longer than inflorescence. Terminal spike male, remaining spikes female. Glumes 2.2-2.4 mm long, lanceolate, acuminate, or cuspidate, membranous, brown, with membranous margins and pale green midrib. Utricles 2.5-3 x 1.5-2 mm, trigonous, elliptic-ovoid, spreading, conspicuously multi-nerved when immature, maturing glossy and more or less smooth, dark brown; beak 0.5 mm long, slender, acutely bifid, margins usually ciliate-serrate above; stipe short. Stigmas 3. Nut trigonous.

Similar Taxa

Could be confused with Carex uncifolia Cheeseman, from which it chiefly differs by its wider, blue-green to green (rarely wine-red to red-green) rather than dark red to beetroot red leaves, and smooth, dark brown, rather than distinctly nerved, red-brown mature utricles. Carex hectorii is superficially similar to C. decurtata Cheeseman from which it differs by its shortly rhizomatous, lax tufted rather than densely (rigidly) tufted habit, usually blue-green rather than bright-green to yellow-green leaves and dark-brown rather than light brown utricles.


September - December


October - July

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from division of whole plants and fresh seed. Does best in a permanently moist soil in full sun. An excellent pot plant. Leaf colour varies and can be unstable in soem populations. This species woudl beenfit from some horticultural selection.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = c.64-68

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