Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

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


Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (C.C.Gmel.) Palla



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



Schoenoplectus validus (Vahl) Á.Löve & D.Löve. In the past New Zealand plants have been erroneously referred to Scirpus lacustris L. and Schoenoplectus lacustris (L) Palla.


Indigenous. North, South and Chatham Islands. Throughout the North Island, In the South Island present in Nelson, Marlborough, Westland otherwise only around Christchurch and Lake Ellesmere. On the Chatham Islands known from one place - where it is possibly introduced. Otherwise found throughout the world.


Coastal to montane (up to 300 m a.s.l.). Mostly in standing water, growing in brackish or freshwater systems such as lakes, ponds, lagoons, river and stream margins. Also found well inland around geothermal systems.


Rhizome 3-8 mm diameter, horizontal, hard and woody, red-brown, with loose papery, grey, well spaced, scales, 20 mm long; roots numerous, fibrous, reddish. Culms 0.6-3.0 m, 3-10 mm diameter, crowded or distant on rhizome, terete with spongy pith. Leaves reduced to loose, grey-brown, papery sheaths at base of culms, the uppermost to 350 mm long. Inflorescence seemingly lateral, comprised of numerous spikelets in a cymose irregular umbel, primary rays 10-60 mm long, scabrid; subtending terete bract << inflorescence. Spikelets 6-11 mm long, oblong-ovoid or oblong-ellipsoid, light brown, solitary, or in clusters of 2-4 on long, scabrid peduncles. Glumes about equal in length to nut, smooth, ovate, emarginate, shortly awned; margin narrow, hyaline, fringed. Hypogynous bristles 5-6, more or less equal to nut in length, retrorsely scabrid. Stigmas 2 (-3). Nut 2.0-2.5 x 1.5 mm, obovoid, plano-convex, apiculate, smooth, light grey.

Similar Taxa

Schoenoplectus californicus (C.A.Mey.) Palla is an aggressive weedy species that is somewhat similar. It reaches 4 m in height, and differs by the culm being triangular in the upper third rather the terete (in cross-section) for its entire length, by the pendulous rather than spreading spikelets and plumose rather than scabrid hypogynous bristles. Schoenoplectus pungens (Vahl) Palla differs by its consistently triangular (in cross section) culms, and sessile 1-3 spikelets. Overall it is a much smaller plant than either of the other two species.


November - January


January - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and the division of whole plants. An important and valuable plant for treating effluent and other polluted water, and so now widely used in artifical wetlands for this purpose.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Cultural Use/Importance

The culms were occasionally used by Maori along with the korari of the flax (Phormium tenax J.R.Forst. et G.Forst) to make rafts, and at a flooring in waka.



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.

This page last updated on 11 Aug 2014