Carex secta


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
secta: much divided (panicle)

Common Name(s)

Purei, Pukio, Niggerhead

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 secta Boott



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 virgata var. secta (Boott) Hook.f., C. paniculata var. secta (Boott) Cheeseman, C. appressa var. secta (Boott) Kük.


Endemic. Found throughout the North, South and Stewart Islands. Also on the main Chatham Island, though scarce.


Widespread in suitable wetlands from coastal to montane wetlands.


Tussock forming sedge up to 1.5 x 0.8 m, mature specimens with trunk-like bases comprised of matted rhizomes, roots and old culm-bases. Culms 0.25-1(-1.5) m, drooping, trigonous, scabrid, basal sheaths brown to light-brown. Leaves 1.5-7 mm wide, light green to yellow-green (rarely dark green - then in heavy shade), equal to or longer than culms, drooping, channelled, margins and keel scabrid. Inflorescence a loosely branched, somewhat slender, drooping panicle 0.45-1 m long. Spikes pale brown, mostly clustered towards the ends of the slender branchlets. Utricles chestnut brown to dark brown, margins weakly winged, scabrid, light brown to brown, apex with a minute to distinct beak.

Similar Taxa

C. appressa, C. sectoides, C. tenuiculmis and C. virgata. From C. appressa and C. virgata, it can be distinguished by its branched, drooping, paniculate inflorescence. From C. sectoides, by its smaller stature, and slender, longer, drooping inflorescence branchlets. C. sectoides is sympatric with C. secta at only one site on main Chatham Island. From C. tenuiculmis, it differs by its light green to yellow-green, rather than wine-red foliage, and larger panicles with more numerous branchlets.


(September-) October-November (-December)


October - March

Propagation Technique

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


Not Threatened.

Chromosome No.

2n = c.70

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).

Where To Buy

Commonly cultivated. Sold by most garden centres.


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