Carex kirkii var. elatior
Vascular – Native
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 Evaluated
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Data Deficient
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island, North-West Nelson (Mt Arthur Plateau) and Otago (Mt St Bathans)
Unclear. Known only from gatherings made at two locations: - the Mt Arthur Plateau at 1200 m a.s.l. and from Mt St Bathans (at 900 m a.s.l.). The type variety grows in snow-tussock (Chionochloa) grassland and herbfield.
Shortly rhizomatous, bright to dark green densely tufted sedge. Culms much » leaves, 80-210 × c.0.5 mm diameter, triquetrous, smooth, upper part not enclosed by leaf-sheaths; basal sheaths chestnut. Leaves 3-5 per culm, 90-350 × 0.5–1.5 mm, involute or flattened, wiry, striated, scabrid towards the acute tip. Inflorescence a compound spike, 10–40 × c. 5 mm, pale green or pale brown. Spikes distant, especially the lower ones, which may be with or without a subtending leaf-like bract; androgynous, male flowers terminal, occasionally absent in the lower spike. Glumes = or slightly >, rarely < utricles, ovate-lanceolate, acuminate or acute, membranous, light brown or almost colourless, midrib light green, prominent in the lowermost glumes and often scabrid towards the tip. Utricles 4.0-4.5 × c.1 mm, plano-convex, elliptic-obovoid, ± papillose, strongly nerved slightly winged; beak 1.5-2.0 mm long, scabrid on the margins, orifice oblique, bifid; stipe minute or absent. Stigmas 2. Nut c.2 mm long, plano-convex, oblong, shortly stipitate
Carex kirkii Petrie var. kirkii differs by the shorter culms (up to 40 mm cf. 210 mm in var. elatior) which remain hidden amongst the leaf-sheaths at maturity rather than elongating; shorter (up to 200 x 0.5 mm cf. 350 x 1.5 mm) involute rather than involute or flattened leaves; and shorter (10-15 x c.5 mm cf. 10-40 x c.5 mm) crowded rather than distinct spikes. The whole inflorescence is normally subtended by a leaf-like bract, which in var. elatior is usually absent (rarely present at the base of the lower few spikes).
Unknown. Probably rather like C. kirkii Petrie var. kirkii which is easily grown.
Unknown. This variety is only known from the type gatherings from the Arthur Plateau and from a single gathering from Mt St Bathans all made in the late 1800s. It has not been collected from the wild since. This variety may be extinct. However, as no specific surveys for it have been undertaken a definitive conservation assessment cannot yet be made.
carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
kirkii: After Thomas Kirk (18 January 1828 - 8 March 1898), a NZ botanist and lecturer in natural sciences and regarded as a leader of botanical enquiry in NZ for over three decades. One of his most significant publications was Forest flora of NZ (1889) but he also contributed over 130 papers to the Transactions and Proceedings of the NZ Institute and other journals.
WheRe To Buy
Not commercially available.
There is considerable doubt about the taxonomic validity of this variety. It is known from only a handful of collections.
Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (110 August 2006). Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970) and from examination of type material held at AK (see images).
References and further reading
Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington and from examination of type material held at AK (see images).
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Carex kirkii var. elatior Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/carex-kirkii-var-elatior/ (Date website was queried)