Carex traversii


Carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
traversii: Named after William Thomas Locke Travers (1819-1903) who was an Irish lawyer, magistrate, politician, explorer, naturalist, photographer. He lived in New Zealand from 1849 and was a fellow of the Linnean Society.

Common Name(s)

Traver'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 - Range Restricted


2012 - RR


Carex traversii Kirk



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. South Island, eastern Nelson, Red Hills and Mt Dun ultramafic are only.


An ultramafic endemic confined to open sites within seepages, rubbly ground or damp scree. Sometimes it can be found on boulders or in open, dry ground.


Short, densely tufted dark red to purple-red sedge of damp ground and seepages within ultramafic zones. Culms 100-200 x 1 mm, terete, basal sheaths light brown. Leaves usually > culms, rarely = or < culms, 0.5-1 mm wide, flaccid, lamina plano-convex, margins involute, slightly scabrid towards the filiform usually curled apex. Inflorescence of 3-6 more or less approximate spikes; uppermost male, shortly pedunculate; remaining spikes female, sometimes with 1-2 male flowers near base, 5-10 x 5 mm, sessile with occasional lowermost spike rather distantly pedunculate; subtending bracts leafy, > inflorescence. Glumes lightly < utricles, membranous, light red-brown with a stouter, paler midrib, acuminate, or with a short scabrid awn. Utricles 2.5-3 x 1 mm, subtrigonous to plano-convex, more or less fusiform, dark red-brown, except for the pale beak and the stipe, lateral nerves prominent, remaining nerves faint; beak attenuated, rather narrow, 0.5 mm long, crura acutely bifid, scabrid; stipe hardly contracted, very short. Stigmas 3. Nut 2 mm long, light brown, trigonous.

Similar Taxa

Carex traversii is perhaps closest to C. druceana from which it differs by the utricles 2.5-3 rather than 2 mm long, these uniformly dark red-brown with a paler beak and stipe, rather than yellowish, with red near the apex and with the beak scarcely evident. Carex traversii is an ultramafic endemic of open rubbley ground. It has been confused with the superficially similar C. uncifolia Cheeseman, but that species prefers poorly drained habitats and has curled leaf apices, and near sessile culms, with densely crowded spikes.


September - January


October - June

Propagation Technique

Easily grown by division of whole plants and from fresh seed. Intolerant of competition and does best in a free draining, magnesium enriched soil. An unusual sedge best cultivated in a pot.


A naturally uncommon, range restricted endemic, abunbdant within suitable habitat within the ultramafics of the Red Hills and Mt Dun

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 commericially available.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (10 August 2006). 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 18 Jun 2015