Carex muelleri


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
muelleri: Named after Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, 19th century German/Australian botanist and founder of the National Herbarium of Victoria

Common Name(s)

Muellers 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 - Sparse


Carex muelleri 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



Carex viridis Petrie


Endemic. South Island, in the east from Marlborough (upper Wairau River) to Otago.


A species of upper montane river flat, lake margin and shallow tarn habitats within tussock grassland. It seems to prefer seasonally wet habitats.


Rhizomatous; pale yellow-green, whitish-green to green tufted and swarding sedge. Rhizome 2-3 mm diameter, rather woody, covered in closely sheathing brown scales. Culms stiffly erect, 60-450 x 0.5-1 mm, > leaves, terete, flattened or plano-convex above, terete below, rather wiry, glabrous; basal sheaths dark grey-brown or reddish brown. Leaves 80-350 x 0.5-15 mm, plano-convex or with the upper surface slightly concave, lamina grooved along back, flattened near tip, occasionally scabrid along the margins. Inflorescences almost dioecious, with plants either mostly male or female; males with sparse female flowers near inflorescence apex, females with males in the same position. Inflorescence an erect, linear, continuous, compound spike 15-40 x 4 mm. Spikes 5-10, more or less contiguous, pale, straw-coloured to almost grey-green. Subtending bracts glume-like, rather long-awned, though not > inflorescence. Glumes more less the same length as the utricles, linear-lanceolate, acuminate or awned, rather membranous to chartaceous, pale green to pale brown or hyaline. Utricles 3.5-4.5 x 1-1.2 mm, plano-convex, narrow-lanceolate, strongly nerved on the flat face; beak 1.5-2 mm long, tapering, with finely scabrid wings and an oblique, bifid orifice; stipe 0.5-1 mm, hardly contracted. Stigmas 2. Nut c.2 mm long, brown, oblong-obovoid, smooth, glossy.

Similar Taxa

A very distinctive species easily recognized by its rather tall whitish-green, yellow-green to green tufted culms and leaves, creeping habit, and narrowly erect almost dioecious inflorescences. It is perhaps most similar to C. kaloides Petrie which differs by its greater stature, orange yellow, reddish-yellow to orange culms and leaves, longer, often paniculate inflorescence and broader, larger, rather more finely nerved utricles.


October - January


October - June

Propagation Technique

Easily grown by division of whole plants and fresh seed. Because plants are virtually dioecious seed may be difficult to obtain. An attractive an dunusual sedge form rigidly erect greenish white swards. Ideal for cultivation around garden ponds or slow flowing streams, provided it is planted in sunny conditions and kept free from competition.


A biologiically sparse, naturally uncommon species. In some parts of its range it may be declining due to competition from weeds.

Chromosome No.

2n = c.70

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).


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 30 May 2014