Isolepis subcucullata Bergg.; Isolepis cartilaginea var. rigida Bergg.; Scirpus aucklandicus (Hook.f.) Boeck; S. aucklandicus var. subcucullata (Bergg.) C.B. Clarke; Scirpus muscosus Kirk;
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 = 42
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 | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Indigenous. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell, Macquarie Islands. Also in Australia.
Coastal to alpine (up to 1300 m a.s.l.). Mostly montane in the northern part of its range. A species of boggy ground in forest as well as wetlands, often growing on peaty turf on forest margins or on permanently damp rock shelves or seepages in forest.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
OBL: Obligate Wetland
Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands (non-wetlands).
Widely creeping, bright green, leafy, rhizomatous sedge forming large, turfy patches. Rhizome c.0.5 mm. diameter. Culms 10.0–80.0 x c.0.5 mm, bright green above, red-brown towards the base, rigid. Leaves up to 6 per culm, usually > culms, c.0.5 mm wide, or often setaceous and filiform, coriaceous, curved; sheaths with truncate orifice, pale brown and membranous, often streaked with red, rarely entirely dark red-purple. Inflorescence apparently lateral, of 1–2 narrow-oblong spikelets, 1.0–4.0 × 0.5–2 mm, partly hidden by the enlarged base of a subtending bract up to 5 times length of spikelet. Glumes 1.5–2.5 mm long, lanceolate, acute, caducous, green to pale grey-brown with reddish marks or deep red-purple, margins tapered and often pinched in at the tip below the green, thickened, ± excurrent keel. Hypogynous bristles 0. Stamens 3. Style-branches 3. Nut 1–2 mm long, slightly > 0.5 mm wide, almost = glume, elliptical, ± trigonous with rounded angles, almost white to yellowish, or grey- to red-brown, smooth and shining but very finely reticulate, tapering towards the apiculate black tip.
Isolepis aucklandica is easily distinguished by its bright green colour; leaves mostly > culms; 3 stamens per glume (rarely 1-2 in upper portion of spikelet); by the glume-margins and nut tapering toward the tip; and by the cream nut.
October - December
November - May
Nuts are dispersed by water and possibly granivory and attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh seed and by division of established plants. Requires a permanently moist, acidic soil to flourish. Best grown in partial to full shade.
isolepis: From the Greek isos (equal) and lepis (scale)
aucklandica: Of the Auckland Islands
Where To Buy
Not commercially availabe
Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970)
References and further reading
Johnson, A.T. and Smith, H.A 1986: Plant Names Simplified: Their pronunciation, derivation and meaning. Landsman Bookshop Ltd: Buckenhill, UK.
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.