feeble bastard grass, hook sedge
Uncinia gracilenta Hamlin
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.
2n = 88
Current conservation status
The threat classification 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) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website 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. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: North (from about Whangarei south) South (Marlborough Sounds, northern Marlborough, Nelson, Otago, South Canterbury, Westland, Fiordland) and Stewart Islands
Mostly montane forest, cloud forest or in subalpine scrub, often on or near rotting logs. Descending to coastal areas in the southern part of its range.
Loosely tufted, dark green or reddish-green plants. Culms 100.0-420.0 × c.0.5 mm, glabrous or rarely scabrid below inflorescence; basal sheaths dark brown, shining. Leaves 4-6 per culm, usually > culm, 1.0-2.0 mm, wide, dark green or reddish green, margins moderately scabrid. Spikes 50-70 × c.2 mm, usually bracteate, the bract leaf-like and far overtopping spike, or setose and shorter than spike, female flowers c.15-20, ± equidistant in lower part of spike with internodes to 6 mm long, c.2 mm apart above. Glumes < utricles, deciduous, acuminate, hyaline with green midrib. Utricles 4-5 × c.1mm, trigonous, elliptic-lanceolate or oblong, green, faintly nerved with the lateral nerves more prominent, scarcely spreading when ripe, stipe 1.0-1.5 mm long, beak c.1mm long.
Distinguished from other species by the glossy (shining), dark brown, basal bracts and the short, (usually hidden amongst the leaves), lax-flowered spikes with ± equidistant utricles. Carex imbecilla shares with C. erebus K.A.Ford and C. aucklandica (Hamlin) K.A.Ford dark brown basal bracts, from both these species it is distinguished by the spikes which are greater than 50 mm long. Uncinia hookeri is confined to the Subantarctic islands, and C. aucklandica the southern South Island, Stewart Island and Auckland and Campbell Islands. Carex imbecilla is potentially sympatric with only C. aucklandica, and only then in the very southern part of its range.
October - December
November - April
Easily grown from fresh seed and by division of established plants - though these may take a while to settle. Prefers moist soil in a a semi-shaded site.
carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
Where To Buy
Not Commercially Available
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by Peter J. de Lange 17 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.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Carex imbecilla Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/carex-imbecilla/ (Date website was queried)