sand spike sedge, spikesedge
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 = 30
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 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: DP, EF
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: EF, DP
2004 | Gradual Decline
Endemic to North and South Islands. Scarce in the South Island and now only known from Farewell Spit.
Damp sand flats, often near streams or in places where fresh water filters through the sand at depth or where it is temporarily ponded.
Rhizomatous, widely creeping and mat-forming spike-sedge of damp sandy flats. Rhizomes brown, 1 mm diam. Culms 30-60(-80) x 0.5-1 mm, rigid, curved, sheaths membraneous, lower purple-brown, upper brown with orifice slight to very oblique, tapering to a sharp point. Spikelets 5-6(-8) x 1-4 mm, 4-10-flowered, broadly ovoid, acute to obtuse, broader than culm. Glumes 2.5-3.5 mm, ovate, obtuse, uninverved. Hypogynous bristles absent. Stamens (2-)3. Style 2-fid. Nut 1.5-2 x 1 mm., assymetrically obovate, biconvex, narrowed in lower half, smooth, shining, golden-brown, style base persistent, small.
Could only be confused with E. gracilis which may also grow in similar habitats. However, that species has hypogenous bristles, a trifid style and trigonous nuts. E. neozelandica has no hypogenous bristles, a bifid style and biconvex nut.
Flowers may be found throughout the year
Fruit may be found throughout the year
Bristly nuts are dispersed by water and possibly wind and attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from division of whole plants and fresh seed but short-lived and difficult to maintain over time. Does best if repotted regularly with the soil kept damp. Does not persist for long in most garden situations.
Vulnerable through natural perturbations of its sand flat habitat. Some populations have been lost due to coastal development and through the spread of weeds. Naturally an ephemeral species which does not generally persist for long at any particular site.
eleocharis: Charm of the swamp
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970) and Stanley (1999)
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: 285-309