Carex potens


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

Common Name(s)

bastard grass, hook 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 potens K.A.Ford,



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



Uncinia affinis (C.B.Clarke) Hamlin; Uncinia riparia R.Br. var. affinis Col. ex C.B.Clarke; Uncinia purpurata Petrie var. subcaespitosa Kük.


Endemic. New Zealand. North Island (Mt Egmont, Central Volcanic Plateau, Ruahine and Tararua Ranges), South Island.


Mostly montane to alpine, rarely coastal in southern part of its range. In forests, subalpine scrub and frost flats


Stoutly erect, densely caespitose, yellow-green to dark green plants. Culms 100.0-800.0 × 0.5–1.0 mm diameter, sharply trigonous, scabrid below inflorescence, often drooping; basal sheaths dull dark brown. Leaves 3-4 per culm, = or slightly < culms, 1.5–2.0 mm wide, yellow-green to dark green, margins harshly scabrid, slightly involute when dry. Spikes 50-140 mm long, female flowers c.15–20, lax, internodes 11 mm long at base of spike, 3-6 mm long above. Glumes ± = or rarely much < utricles, persistent, obtuse or lowermost subacute, coriaceous, pale brown. Utricles 6-7 × c.1 mm., plano-convex, lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, grey-brown, nerved, slightly contracted or cuneate at the base forming a stipe 1.5-2.0 mm long, beak 2 mm long

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from the other New Zealand species by the lax inflorescences, and utricles which are c.1 mm diameter. It is most likely to be confused with Carex erythrovaginata K.A.Ford from which it differs by the leaf-sheaths, leaves and glumes which lack red colouration. Carex potens is very closely allied to the Australian Carex umbricola K.L.Wilson.


October - November


November - January

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by division of established plants. Prefers a permanently moist, peaty soil but will grow in most substrates. Best in semi-shade.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 88

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not Commercially Available



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 26 Aug 2015