Carex tahoata


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

Common Name(s)

Mountain Teasel 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 - Range Restricted


Carex tahoata Hamlin



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class





Endemic. North Island, Central Volcanic Plateau from about Lake Taupo South through the Kaimanawa and Kaweka Ranges to the northern Ruahine Range (Makirikiri Tarns, Potae). It may be in the South Island.


Montane to alpine stream sides, lake and tarn margins, wet flushed in tussock grassland and cushion bogs.


Stout, caespitose, red, reddish-green to bronze green sedge up to 0.8 m tall. Culms 100-600 x 0.5-1 mm, trigonous, scabrid on the angles above, or subterete and smooth. Leaves reddish, red-green, 250-600 x 1.5-2.2. mm, conduplicate or subplicate, scabrid on the margins and upper surfaces, basal sheaths short, 20-100 mm long. Inflorescence 80-200 mm, lowest internode 20-160 mm long, lowest bract sheath 10-20 mm long. Spikes 4-6(-8), terminal spike male, 10-20 mm long; slender, on a peduncle up to 10 mm long or subsessile, remainder female, lowest 10-15 mm, upper shorter, 4 mm wide, cylindric, sessile or the lowest on peduncles up to 10 mm long. Glumes equalling the utricles, oblong, obtuse to subacute to shortly acuminate, pale to red brown with abroad hyaline margin, and a pale midrib not reaching the margin or prolonged as a 0.2 mm or less mucro. Utricles 2-2.5 x 1.3-1.8 mm, ovoid ellipsoid, broadly ellipsoid to suborbicular, planoconvex or unequally biconvex, pale below, very dark brown above, smooth and glossy, margins scabrid on upper half, beak absent, crura up to 20.2 mm long, readily abraded.

Similar Taxa

Very close to Carex dipsacea Bergg., and differing mainly by the shorter stature, more slender leaves, shorter and fewer female spikes and smaller utricles. In its extreme form it appears very distinctive but it is scarcely distinct from C. dipsacea and is probably better regarded, as Flora of New Zealand Vol. II advocates as part of the natural range of variation exihibited by C. dipsacea.


November - December


November - August

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. Does well in sun or shade, and although it prefers a moist soil it wil tolerate extreme drought. Some selection from the wild may be needed as the species is highly variable and some of the high altitude forms in particular, have very red foliage and dark brown (almost black) utricles which are retained in cultivation.


A naturally uncommon, range restricted sedge aboundant within large parts of its geographically confined range.

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 by P.J. de Lange (30 August 2005). Description based on Hamlin (1968).

References and further reading

Hamlin, B.G. 1968: The Genus Carex Sect. Echinochlaenae Th. Holm in New Zealand: Typification, Classification and Descriptions of New Species. Records of the Dominion Museum, Wellington 6: 97-111.

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