Carex acicularis


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
acicularis: Needle-like, needle-shaped, stiff or pointed

Common Name(s)


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 acicularis Boott in Hook.f.



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 inconspicua Col.


Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands. In the North Island confined to the main axial Mountains from the Raukumara Range South including the Volcanic Plateau. In the South and Stewart Islands widespread.


A montane to subalpine (sometimes coastal in the southern part of its range) sedge of wet open stony ground, damp seepages in scrub or forest or within tussock grassland.


Diminutive, shortly rhizomatous, swarding yellow-green to dark green, sedge forming small tufts and mats amongst stones and in damp depressions within forest and tussock grassland. Culms 20-200 x 0.5 mm, terete, smooth; basal sheaths chestnut-brown or yellow-brown. Leaves slightly < culms (occasionally overtopping them), 0.5 mm wide, hair-like, plano-convex, canaliculated, strict, yellow-green to dark green, margins scabrid towards the obtuse apex. Inflorescence solitary. Spike 5 mm long, the lowermost glume bracteate, female flowers 2-6, equally or overtopping male flowers. Glumes longer than or of equal length to utricles, ovate, acute, brown with green midrib. Utricles 3-5 x 1 mm, lanceolate. Smooth; tapering to a dark beak 1-2 mm long with distinctly scabrid margins and oblique crura; stipe 1 mm long. Stigmas 3. Rhachilla enclosed within utricle, 2-2.3 mm long, linear, margins scabrid, apex surmounted by a minute, red appendage. Nut 2 mm long, oblong-trigonous, smooth.

Similar Taxa

Most closely allied to C. allanii Hamlin (which many regard as a form of C. acicularis) and C. enysii Petrie. From C. enysii it is best recognised by the distinctly scabrid rather than smoothly glabrous utricle beak, while it is chiefly distinguished from C. allanii by its shortly creeping, closely tufted habit, lanceolate rather than subtrigonous utricles, and longer (1-2 mm vs. 1 mm) beak. The nut of C. allanii is < 2 mm long, obovoid-trigonous while that of C. acicularis is 2 mm long and oblong-trigonous. Further study is needed to determine if C. allanii is truly distinct from C. acicularis.


October - December


October - June

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces and fresh seed. But fairly slow-growing and odes better in cooler climates. Does not like humidity


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).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available


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