Wiwi, knobby club rush, ethel sedge
Scirpus nodosus Rottb., Isolepis nodosa (Rottb.) R.Br., Scirpoides nodosa (Rottb.) Sojak; Holoschoenus nodosus (Rottb.) Dietr.
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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Indigenous. Kermadec, Three Kings, North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. Widespread in the southern Hemisphere
Mostly coastal but occasional extending into montane area (up to 700 m a.s.l.). In a wide range of habitats but favouring open situations - commonly on sand, especially on sand dunes, sandy beaches and at the back of estuaries. Sometimes colonising sandstone, limestone of volcanic rock outcrops in lowland forest. Rarely in tussock grassland.
Rhizome short, 5-10 mm diameter, ascending to subhorizontal, woody, covered with red-brown bracts 5-10 mm long. Culms numerous, somewhat woody, 0.15-2.0 m, 1-2 mm diameter, yellow-green to bronze-green, densely packed on rhizome, rush-like, rigid and erect (sometimes in lush specimens with upper third curving over), terete or slightly compressed, finely striated when dry. Leaves reduced to 3-6 basal sheaths, the uppermost 50-130 mm long, brown or red-brown, the oblique orifice slightly dilated. Inflorescence an apparently lateral, solitary, hemispherical head, 7-15 mm wide, comprised of numerous, densely crowded, sessile spikelets; subtending bract continuous with the culm, rigid, erect, pungent, > inflorescence. Spikelets 3-4 mm long, ovoid, light brown. Glumes broadly ovate, obtuse, margins entire, more or less apiculate. reddish towards the tips, lateral nerves conspicuous. Hypogynous bristles 0. Stamens 3. Style-branches 3. Nut 1 mm long, < 1 mm wide, plano-convex to trigonous, apiculate, dark brown to almost black, shining.
Easily distinguished from Isolepis R.Br. by the larger overall size, stout, woody rhizomes, by the rigid and mostly erect somewhat woody culms, and by the presence of a gynophore.
September - December
November - May
Nuts are possibly wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of whole plants. Does best when planted in a free draining soil in a sunny site. Ideal in coastal sites but remarkably cold tolerant.
ficinia: Named after Heinrich David Auguste Ficinus, 19th century German botanist
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries
Ficinia nodosa is naturalised around the New Zealand World War II, soldier graves at Suda Bay, Crete.
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: 285-309
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Ficinia nodosa Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/ficinia-nodosa/ (Date website was queried)