Carex lurida


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

Common Name(s)

sallow sedge


Carex lurida Wahlenb.



Brief Description

Grass-like bright green, clump-forming plant, up to 90 cm tall, with large green spiky catkins (up to 4 cm long and 1.5 cm wide).

Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

Structural Class



Scattered and locally common in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Tasman and Westland.


Lowland swamps, roadside drains.


Dense clumps up to 90 cm tall. Stems stout, erect, 3-angled, smooth or slightly scabrid on angles below inflorescence. Leaves 5-8 mm wide, ± = stems, flat, many small internal septa noticeable when dry; sheaths red to almost black. Inflorescence of large approximate spikes each with long leaf-like bract. Male spike 1, 5-6 cm × 2 mm, peduncle short; glumes narrow with long scabrid awns. Female spikes usually 3, upper sessile, rest shortly pedunculate, 2-4 × ± 1.5 cm, glumes much < utricles except at base of spike, narrow, hyaline, with an extremely long awn. Utricles 6-9 × 2-4 mm, strongly inflated, distinctly nerved, shining, smooth, greenish-brown, beak very narrow, bifid, c. ½ length of utricle. Stigmas 3. Nut trigonous, obovate, style strongly curved above base.

Similar Taxa

Superficially similar to the native Carex maorica, differing in the more yellow-green foliage, longer and narrower (up to 6 x 1 cm) female spikes with shorter beaks. The leaf-like bracts on the flowering spikes help identify Carex lurida.


Late spring to early summer

Flower Colours



Summer to autumn

Year Naturalised



North America

Reason for Introduction

Ornamental plant

Control Techniques

Not controlled in New Zealand.

Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seed dispersed by contaminated machinery or waterfowl.


Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA). Features description from Healy and Edgar (1980).

References and further reading

Healy, A.J.; Edgar, E.  (1980). Flora of New Zealand, Volume III.  Adventive Cyperaceous, Petalous and Spathaceous Monocotyledons.  Government Printer, Wellington.  220pp.

Johnson PN, Brooke PA (1989).  Wetland plants in New Zealand.   DSIR Field Guide, DSIR Publishing, Wellington. 319pp.

Champion et al (2012). Freshwater Pests of New Zealand.  NIWA publication. http://www.niwa.co.nz/freshwater-and-estuaries/management-tools/identification-guides-and-fact-sheets/freshwater-pest-species

This page last updated on 21 Aug 2013