Carex sinclairii


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
sinclairii: After Sinclair (c. 1796–1861). Colonial Secretary and naturalist.

Common Name(s)

Sinclair's 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 sinclairii 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





Endemic. New Zealand. North and South Islands from the Waikato River delta and Hauraki Plains south.


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


Rhizomatous; tufts ± distant, rather stiff, bright green to bright yellow-green (often with a slight glaucous sheen) . Rhizome 2–4 mm diameter, occasionally long-creeping. Culms 40-500 × 0.5-1.5 mm, trigonous, margins faintly scabrid, especially towards inflorescence; basal sheaths grey-brown or reddish brown. Leaves numerous = or > culms, 2-4 mm wide, double-folded, ± erect, rather rigid, margins closely scabrid. Spikes 4-7, all, or at least the lowest, distinctly pedunculate; terminal 1(-2) spikes male, dark brown or occasionally very light brown, the rest female, 15-35 × 3-5 mm, usually dark brown, occasionally branched at base. Glumes ± = utricles, ovate-lanceolate, subacute, truncate, almost emarginate, coriaceous, dark red-brown, almost black, midrib narrow, light yellow-green, extending to the tip or produced beyond to a scarcely scabrid awn usually < 1 mm, but up to 2.5 mm long. Utricle 2.5-3.5 × c.1.5 mm, plano-convex, ovoid to ovoid-ellipsoid, rather compressed, light yellow-brown to dark brown, with usually 2-5 distinct nerves on each face, occasionally more in larger plants, margins glabrous; tapering gradually above to a beak slightly < 0.5 mm long, orifice entire or minutely bidentate; stipe < 0.5 mm long. Stigmas 2. Nut 1.5-2.0 mm. long, plano-convex, oblong, light brown

Similar Taxa

Carex sinclairii can be confused with C. subdola. From that species it is best distinguished by the colour of the mature utricles; those of C. subdola are bright cinnamon-brown, and those of C. sinclairii are yellow-brown to dark brown. Smaller specimens of C. sinclairii have glumes without awns, or scarcely awned, and obovoid utricles with only 2–5 prominent nerves, but larger plants have longer awns in some of the glumes and the utricles are ovoid and tapering with nerves as is usual in C. subdola. Can also be confused with Carex gaudichaudiana (with which it often co-occurs) when utricle is immature and green. Carex gaudichaudiana is perennial, smaller, and with finer leaves (<2.5mm wide).


October - November


November - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. Although a wetland species C. sinclairii will grow well in most soils and moisture regimes. Best in partial shade unless grown in permanently damp conditions.


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 (110 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