Schoenus pauciflorus


Schoenus: rush
pauciflorus: few flowers

Common Name(s)

Bog rush, sedge tussock

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 - Not Threatened


Schoenus pauciflorus (Hook.f.) Hook.f.



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



Chaetospora pauciflora Hook.f.


Endemic. North, South, Stewart, Chatham and Auckland Islands. Uncommon north of Rotorua.


Coastal to alpine (up to 1800 m a.s.l.). However, mostly montane to alpine in northern two-thirds of its range. Common in damp seepages along cliff faces, in swamps, in seepages within forest, within mires and around lake tarn and stream sides. Sometimes colonises poorly drained pasture.


Rush-like sedge up to 1 m tall. Rather variable with respect to colour and stature, ranging from stout dark red plants to flaccid bright green specimens. Rhizome short, hard and lignaceous, up to 4 mm diameter. Culms 0.1-1.0 m tall, 0.5-1.8 mm diameter, densely tufted, caespitose, longitudinally striate, grey-green, wine red to bright green. Leaves reduced to numerous, dark red-purple (rarely green) basal sheaths, the uppermost 40-140 mm long, the mucro much elongated with toothed margins. Panicle 15-30 mm long, more or less elongated, bearing 1-9 spikelets at the tips of erect, slightly scabrid branchlets, the whole subtended by a stiff bract overtopping the panicle. Spikelets 5 mm long, 2-4-flowered, lanceolate. Glumes 4-6, lanceolate, 2-3 lowermost smaller, empty, membranous and colourless or occasionally brown, upper glumes darker brown with pale centres, margins hyaline, without cilia. Hypogynous bristles 6, filiform, almost equal in length to style, scabrid, persistent. Stamens 3. Style-branches 3, style often persistent. Nut 2.0-2.5 mm long, slightly less than 1 mm wide, elliptic-oblong, greenish brown to red-brown, lighter brown at the angles, glossy, smooth.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from the other rush-like Schoenus species by the more or less compact panicle which is subtended by a very long bract which consistently overtops the panicle, and also by the brown rather white or pale cream nuts.


September - April


November - June

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces and the division of whole plants. Can be grown from fresh seed but seed is often slow to germinate. Rather variable and as a horticultural subject it would require some selection of the diversity of forms present in the wild.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n= 28, 56

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available.

Notes on taxonomy

There is good cytological and molecular evidence that S. pauciflorus comprises at least two species.


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.

This page last updated on 19 Jan 2014