Carex uncifolia


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

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered

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 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered
2004 - Range Restricted


2012 - RR, Sp, St
2009 - RR, St, Sp


Carex uncifolia Cheeseman



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 cardrona Hamlin


Endemic. North and South Islands. In the North Island known only from the Central Volcanic Plateau from Mt Hauhangatahi and in the nearby Moawhango. In the South Island much more widespread known from the Red Hills, between the Wairau Valley and Nelson, south through Canterbury to Central Otago.


A species of damp seepages, open wetlands and damp turf within tussock grassland. Also abundant in damp sites overlying ultramafic rocks.


Shortly rhizomatous, dark purple red to beetroot red, densely tufted sedge up 30-70 x 30-70 mm. Culms completely obscured by light grey-brown, chartaceous, somewhat fibrillose leaf-sheaths. Leaves 0.5 mm wide, dark purple-red, maroon red to beetroot red, much > culms, plano-convex, nerved on the undersides, smooth on the upper surface, margins scabrid, apex subobtuse, often curled. Inflorescence comprised of short densely compacted spikelets, these 3-4 (-5), terminal spike male, rather slender, shortly pedunculate, glumes lanceolate, acute, red-brown; remaining spikes female; these sessile, 5-12-flowered, glumes 3.5 x 1.5 mm, dull red-brown, distinctly nerved, lanceolate, acute with the mid rib extending into a scabrid awn. Utricles 2-3.5 x 1.5 mm, biconvex to obscurely trigonous. Elliptic-lanceolate, spreading when mature, light red-brown, distinctly nerved, narrowed to a more or less scabrid beak 0.5-1 mm long, bidentate, orifice scabrid. Stigmas 3. Nut 1.5 mm long, dark grey-brown, obtusely trigonous, oblong-obovoid.

Similar Taxa

A well marked species distinguished from the closely allied C. libera (Kük.) Hamlin and C. filamentosa Petrie by the spikes which lie almost buried within the leaves, sessile female spikes and shortly rhizomatous habit. It could be confused with C. hectorii Petrie but that species has much wider, green or reddish-green leaves, and smooth, dark brown mature utricles.


September - January


October - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from division of whole plants and fresh seed. Best kept in a pot because it is intolerant of competition and slow growing. Deos best in a free draining, moist soil, enriched with magnesium. A very attractive and unusual sedge ideal for tub and pot cultivation on patios and verandahs


Naturally uncommon, this species has a biologically sparse distribution, reaching its greatest abundance on ultramafites on the Red Hills, West Dome and the Livingston Range. Elsewhere it is uncommon and some populations have been lost due to weed invasion, trampling from horses and through vehicle damage.

Chromosome No.

2n = c.60

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).


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