Carex enysii


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
enysii: Named in honour of John Davies Enys (1837-1912), a Cornish geologist, biologist and farmer, who owned Castle Hill Station in Canterbury from 1867 to 1891.

Common Name(s)

Enys's Sedge

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - Sp
2009 - DP


Carex enysii Petrie



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. North and South Islands - scarce in the North Island where it is knwon from two sites (Mangahararu Range and Mt Ruapehu)


A species of open, moist stony ground, particularly on or near limestone or chlorite schists. Usually found within tussock grassland or associated subalpine scrub. Sometimes present in montane forest.


Shortly rhizomatous, swarding dark green to yellow-green diminutive sedge forming a dense, compact turf amongst stones and tussocks. Culms 0-15-100 x 0.2-0.4(-0.5) mm, terete, shallowly grooved; basal sheaths chestnut-brown to yellow-brown. Leaves about equal in length to culms, 0.3 mm wide, plano-convex, hair-like, lamina involute just above wide brown sheath, margins smooth, apex obtuse. Inflorescence solitary, terminal, spike of tightly clustered flowers. Female flowers2-3 overtopping the 1-2 male flowers. Lowermost female glume bractiform, 4-7 mm long, upper female glumes 3 mm long, ovate, acute, brown, midrib green, margin hyaline. Utricles 2.5-3 x 1-2 mm, ovoid, sub-terete, pale brown to very light brown, irrespective of colour becoming distinctly paler toward the base, smooth, glabrous, tapered to a darker beak 1 mm long with a hyaline, oblique orifice; stipe minute or absent. Stigmas 3. Rhachilla enclosed within utricle 1 x 0.3 mm at the base, tapering to a bluntly truncate apex. Nut 1.5 mm long, obtusely trigonous.

Similar Taxa

Allied to C. acicularis Boott in Hook.f., and C. allanii Hamlin, and distinguished from both by the glabrous rather than scabrid utricle beak and shorter rhachilla (1 mm compared with 2 mm in the other two species).


October - December


October - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces and fresh seed but slow growing and somewhat fickle. Best kep in a pot, in full sun with a permanently moist soil.


Biologically sparse and probably also overlooked as it is rather small and inconspciuous. At present it doe snot seem be threatened although some populations are probably vulnerable to invasive weeds.

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 (8 August 2007). 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 7 Oct 2016