Carex ochrosaccus


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

Common Name(s)

Forest 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 ochrosaccus (Cheeseman) 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 dissita Boott var ochrosaccus C.B.Clarke ex Cheeseman


Endemic. New Zealand: North Island, mostly from Whangarei and Dargaville South to the Bay of Plenty and Mokau River. South of there is a sparsely distributed species, ranging about as far south as the Manawatu Gorge.


Coastal to lowland usually in damp situations within alluvial forest but also along stream banks and within coastal seepages. Sometimes forming extensive sedgelands within willow carr.


Densely tufted and robust sedge, 0.45-1.00 m tall. Culms 1.0-1.5 mm diameter, trigonous, smooth; basal sheaths red-brown, yellow-brown or grey-brown. Leaves > culms, 3-4 mm wide, double-folded, light green, glossy, margins slightly scabrid. Spikes 5-7; terminal 1(-2) spikes male, occasionally mixed with female flowers; remaining spikes female, 15-60 × 5–7 mm, shortly pedunculate, erect, distant, the lower often compound. Glumes (excluding awn) < utricles, ovate, acute or emarginate, pale cream flecked with small brown striae, membranous, midrib green, produced to a very fine scabrid awn c.½ length of glume. Utricles 2.5–3.0 × c.1.0 mm, ellipsoid, turgid, light yellow-brown, occasionally darker brown, especially towards the top, distinctly nerved, margins near the top finely scabrid, gradually tapering to the narrow bifid beak, c.0.5 mm. long, orifice scabrid. Stigmas 3. Nut c. 1.5 mm. long, trigonous, light brown

Similar Taxa

Carex ochrosaccus is rather similar to C. dissita and C. lambertiana species from which it is easily distinguished by the light cream glumes and distinctly nerved utricles.


October - January


Throughout the year.

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. Excellent for a permanently damp situation in a shaded site but will tolerate full sun and dry conditions once established.


Not Threatened

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