Cutty grass, rautahi
Carex ternaria var. pallida Cheeseman, C. ternaria f. pallida (Cheeseman) Kük.
Vascular – Native
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.
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: North, South and Stewart Islands from Pureora and the Kaingaroa Plain south. In the South Island widespread though more common on the eastern side.
Coastal to alpine (up to 1600 m a s.l.). Usually in damp seepages in grassland or on swampy river flats, sometimes a persistent weed in pasture.
Rhizomatous; summer-green perennial, in coarse yellow-green, glossy, distant tufts, 0.2-1.2 m high, borne on a hard, woody rhizome 5-12 mm diameter. Culms 1.5-3.0 mm diameter, trigonous, scabrid below inflorescence; basal sheaths membranous, grey-brown, yellow-brown or dull red-brown, margins shredding into fibres wrapped round the culm. Leaves much > culms, 4-9 mm wide, double-folded, stiff, coriaceous, hard, glossy, margins closely scabrid. Spikes 8-15, pendulous on filiform peduncles usually much > spike; 2-6 uppermost spikes male, 2-3 mm diameter, glumes hardly awned; remaining spikes female, occasionally male at the top, geminate or ternate, rarely quinate, lower spikes the longest, 20-100 × c.5 mm. Glumes (excluding awn) < utricles, narrow-ovate or obovate, with a short hispid awn, coriaceous, red-brown, margins narrow-hyaline; midrib broad, 3-nerved, light brown. Utricle 1.9-3.3 × 1.2-2.0 mm, unequally biconvex, orbicular or broadly ovoid, yellow-green or light grey-brown, green towards the tip, faintly nerved but with prominent lateral ridges, margins smooth, gradually narrowed to a short beak c.0.3 mm long, orifice entire; stipe c.0.5 mm long. Stigmas 2. Nut slightly < 1.5 mm long, c.¾ length of utricle, biconvex, orbicular or oblong-ovoid, dark brown to black.
Carex coriacea is allied to C. ternaria Boott, C. lessoniana Steud. and C. geminata Schkuhr. From all these species it is best distinguished by the glossy, yellow-green leaves, smooth, yellow-green utricle and by the nut which is usually c.3/4 the length of the utricle. Further Carex ternaria is confined to the Chatham and Subantarctic islands outside the range of C. coriacea, while ecologically C. lessoniana and C. geminata are more typical of lowland wetlands or damp sites within forest. Only rarely do the ranges of C. lessoniana and C. geminata overlap with C. coriacea.
October - December
December - May
Nuts surrounded by inflated utricles are dispersed by granivory and wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. However, because of its extensively rhizomatous nature it needs plenty of room to spread. Although a wetland species C. coriacea will grow well in most soils and moisture regimes. Does best in full sun.
carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
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
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Carex coriacea Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/carex-coriacea/ (Date website was queried)