Carex maorica


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

Common Name(s)

Maori 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 maorica Hamlin



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 fascicularis Boott var. minor Boott; Carex forsteri Wahl. var. minor (Boott) Hook.f.


Endemic. New Zealand: North and South Islands. In the North Island uncommon in the east from East Cape to the Wairarapa otherwise widespread. In the South Island apparently absent from Southland and Fiordland


Coastal to lowland in freshwater wetlands, under willow in gully systems, along river and stream banks, lake margins, and in damp seepages, pond margins and clearings within forest. Preferring fertile to mid-fertile wetlands.


Light green to yellow-green tufted sedge. Culms 150.0-700.0 × 1.0–2.5 mm., trigonous, smooth or faintly scabrid below inflorescence; basal sheaths light to dark grey, often red-tinged. Leaves > culms, to 1 m long, 2-7 mm wide, double-folded, cross-veinlets ± prominent, keel and margins minutely scabrid. Inflorescence of 2-5 close-set, sessile, usually erect, occasionally spreading spikes, or the lowest 1-2 rather distant and shortly pedunculate; terminal spike male; remaining spikes female, usually > and overtopping male spike, 20–60 × 7–12 mm, crowded at same level round base of male spike. Glumes usually much < utricles, 1-2 mm long, narrowly ovate-lanceolate, margin of upper part fimbriate or lacerate, hyaline with a green midrib produced to a scabrid awn 1-3 mm long, up to 6 mm long in lowermost glumes. Utricles 4.0-5.5(-6.0) × 1.0–1.5 mm., plano-convex or biconvex, turgid, ovate or lanceolate, spreading when ripe, shining light green to light brown with numerous distinct white nerves, very slightly tapered above to a beak 1.5–2.0 mm long, with bifid, glabrous orifice, crura c. 1/3 length of entire beak; stipe narrow, c.0.5 mm long. Stigmas 3. Nut c. 1.5 mm. long, triquetrous, ellipsoid, cream or light brown

Similar Taxa

Carex maorica is easily recognised by its slender culms; pale green to yellow green wide leaves; prominent cross-veinlets on sheaths and leaves; and mostly clustered spikelets, and short glumes with lacerate or fimbriate margins; and by the submembranous, strongly nerved, glabrous, spreading utricles. There are only two other carices in New Zealand with cross-veinlets, the indigenous C. fascicularis Boott and naturalised C. lurida Wahlenberg. Carex fascicularis differs from C. maorica by the female spikes mostly distant to ± approximate (but then never clustered at one level round base of male spike). Carex lurida is a much larger sedge than either species (up to 2.5 m tall) and has utricles 6-9 × 2-4 rather than 4.0-6.0 × 1.0-1.5 mm


October - December


November - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. Although a wetland species C. maorica will grow well in most soils and moisture regimes. Does best in full sun.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = c.72-76

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 (12 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