Carex novae-zelandiae Petrie; Carex petriei Cheeseman var. rubicunda (Petrie) 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 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 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable | Qualifiers: DP, EF, RR
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable | Qualifiers: DP, RR
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable | Qualifiers: DP
2004 | Range Restricted
Endemic. North and South Islands. In the North Island known from swamps in the southern Kaingaroa Plain, the Kaimanawa and Ruahine Mountains, and wetlands within Tongariro National Park. Its exact distribution in the South Island is still unclear. It has long been known from from Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri, and has recently (2009-2010) been found at Lake Lyndon (Canterbury) and Lake Wanaka (Otago). It is likely to be found at other sites.
A species of mainly montane to subalpine lake, tarn, and pond margins. Also found in other ephemeral wetlands, often in places seasonally flooded.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACW: Facultative Wetland
Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands (non-wetlands).
Diminutive, shortly rhizomatous, stiffly erect, reddish brown tufted sedge with curled leaf apices frequenting lake, pond, and tarn margins, flushes, slow flowing stream and seepage in montane to subalpine conditions. Culms 10-150 x 0.5-1 mm, glabrous, terete, basal sheaths light brown to grey brown. Leaves much longer than culms, 30-300 x 0.5-1 mm, red to red-brown, rigid, plano-convex, occasionally with margins inrolled, striated on undersides, margins finely scabrid, leaf apex obtuse, twisted and curled when dry. Inflorescence 10-15 mm long, usually hidden within foliage towards base of plant. Spikes 3-4(-6), shortly pedunculate to almost sessile, pale yellow-brown, terminal spike wholly male, subterminal spike female or with some males near apex, remaining spikes female, 5-10 x 3 mm, clustered at the same level round base of male spike, all subtended by leaf-like bracts, these about same length as leaves. Glumes equal to or slightly shorter than utricles, ovate, membranous, nerved, pale pink, maturing brown, with green midribs, apices acute. Utricles 1.5-2 x 1 mm, plano-convex, obovoid, smooth or faintly nerved, gradually narrowed at either end, light brown below, trending to darker purple-brown toward the 0.3 mm long glabrous beak, apex hardly bifid, crura minutely scabrid; stipe 0.5 mm long. Stigmas 2. Nut about 1 mm long, obovoid to suborbicular, pale grey-brown.
In some respects C. rubicunda is perhaps closest to C. petriei Cheeseman from which it differs by its red, curly-tipped rather than twisted leaves, female flowers bearing 2 rather than 3 stigmas, and by the scarcely beaked rather than distinctly beaked, grey brown rather than dull brown, obovoid to suborbicular rather than oblong-obovoid, utricle. It could also be confused with C. cirrhosa Bergg., from which it differs by its (usually) smaller stature, and smooth or faintly nerved rather than distinctly nerved, utricle which tapers to a minute beak (0.3 mm long), rather than an abruptly narrowed utricle terminating in a >0.5 mm long beak. The utricles of C. rubicunda are usually much <2 mm long, whilst those of C. cirrhosa are typically >2 mm long. The two species are occasionally found growing together.
October - January
October - August
Nuts surrounded by inflated utricles are dispersed by granivory and wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from the division of whole plants and from fresh seed. A diminutive species best suited for cultivation in pots within an alpine house or in a rockery. It requires permanently moist soil to flourish and prefers full sun. It is intolerant of much competition and dislikes humidity.
A locally common species of suitable habitats within the Central North Island. Some populations might be at risk from horse trampling, vehicle traffic and invasive wetland weeds. Status in the South Island needs clarification.
carex: Latin name for a species of sedge, now applied to the whole group.
Where To Buy
Not commericially available
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 11(4): 285-309.