Carex dolomitica


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

Common Name(s)

Mt Burnett Sedge

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

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 Critical
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Critical


2012 - CD, OL
2009 - CD, OL


Carex dolomitica Heenan et de Lange



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, where it is known only from Mt Burnett. There it grows on both North and South Peaks.


Confined to open or exposed areas of dolomite and dolomite/ limestone/marble karrenfield with little associated vegetation. Plants have also colonised the mining roads and old quarry.


Robust, tussock-forming, bronze-green sedge with channelled leaves. Leaves 200-600 x 4-8.5 mm, rigid, erect, channelled, green. Culms 400-850 mm long, stout, ascending or spreading, rigid, trigonous, longer than leaves when mature. Basal sheaths up to 60 mm long, dark brown or black, nerves distinct. Spikes 4-8, up to 40 mm long, erect, upper spikes approximate and sessile, lower 1(-2) spikes distant, shortly pedunculate; spikes subtended by narrow, leaf-like bracts; terminal 1(-2) spikes male; female spikes cylindrical, with three stigmas. Glumes 3.3-3.8 x 1.5-2.3 mm, similar length , or shorter than utricles, ovate, elliptic, chestnut brown at base, pale brown above, persistent, 2-lobed at apex, midrib green, awn 0.2-1 mm, weakly scabrid, green. Utricles 3.2-4.2 x 1.3-1.9 mm, glabrous, broad-ovoid to ovoid, elliptic or narrowly-elliptic, plano-convex or subtrigonous, black with a pale brown stipe and beak. Beak 0.3-0.5 mm.

Similar Taxa

Perhaps closest to C. dallii Kirk, from which differs in its wine red, finer (1-2 mm wide) leaves, and narrower female spikes. However, several as yet unnamed carices are closely allied to C. dolomitica, and further work is needed to resolve the relationships between these plants.





Propagation Technique

Easy to grow from divisions of whole plants and from fresh seed. An attractive, robust sedge that does well in full sun. It likes a fertile soil and can tolerate free-draining conditions and/or some waterlogging. An excellent rockery plant.


Carex dolomitica is at serious risk from dolomite mining which is destroying its only known habitat faster than it can recolonise old mine workings. This sedge is also threatened from competition from weeds such as Mexican daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus) which have recently colonised Mt Burnett. Carex dolomitica is the only dolomite endemic to have successfully colonised the mine roads.

Chromosome No.

2n = c.72

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 commerically available. Some plants are held privately and by at least one Botanic Garden.


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 October 2003. Description adapted from Heenan & de Lange (1997).

References and further reading

Heenan, P.B.; de Lange, P. J. 1997: Carex dolomitica (Cyperaceae), a new and rare species from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 35: 423-428.

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 29 May 2014