Scirpus habrus Edgar; Isolepis limbata W.M.Curtis,
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 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. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. Also Australia
In the northern part of its range strictly montane, usually in cloud forest on permanantly damp peaty ground. Extending to sea level in southern part of range , where it may grow in open coastal turf, peat bogs and in damp sites under coastal scrub and forest.
Slender perennial, in close-packed tufts from a shortly creeping rhizome. Culms 50-300 mm long, less than 0.5 mm in diameter, soft and usually flaccid; basal bracts light reddish brown. Leaves 1-3(-4) per culm, bright green, soft, usually flaccid, shorter than the culms; sheaths often tinged with red-purple. Inflorescence of 1-3 ovate spikelets, occasionally proliferous, subtending bract up to 6 times the length of spikelet. Spikelets 2-4-5 × 2-3 mm, varying in colour from pale green, through green tinged with red-purple to almost entirely black. Glumes (1.0-)1.2-1.8 mm long, ovate-elliptical, acute, keel green, prominent, often slightly excurrent, sides wholly cream, or with red-purple markings to almost entirely dark red-purple, but then often with pale cream nerves. Stamens 1-2(-3), usually distributed as 2 in lower glumes, usually only 1 stamen in upper glumes. Style branches 3. Hypogynous bristles 0. Nut 1.0-1.4 × 0-6-0-8 mm, obovate-elliptical, trigonous with angles slightly thickened, cream to sometimes light brown, minutely stipitate and apiculate.
Recognised by the usually flaccid growth habit, culms which are usually < 0.5 mm diameter and > 60 mm long, stamens mostly 2 per lovwer glumes and 1 per upper, and by ribbed nut < 1 mm long. Spikelet colour varies in the northern two-thirds of New Zealand these are uniformly light green or reddish black but in the southern South Island, Stewart and Chatham Islands especially they are mostly dark black with cream nervation.
Throughout the year but peaking in October - December
Throughout the year
Nuts are dispersed by water and possibly granivory and attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from rooted pieces, by seed or from the division of established plants. An attractive plant for a shady, damp site or planted in shallow water around a pond. The Chatham Islands form whcih has darker black spikelets is especially attractive.
isolepis: From the Greek isos (equal) and lepis (scale)
habra: Soft, delicate
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
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