Chaetospora imberbis R.Br.; Schoenus imberbis (R.Br.) Poir; Schoenus laxiflorus Steud.; Schoenus brownii Hook.f.; Schoenus vacillans Kirk; Schoenus apogon var. laxiflorus (Steud.) C.B.Clarke
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 = 8
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. North and northern South Islands, also Chatham Island. Also in Australia, New Guinea and Japan.
Coastal to montane (up to 500 m a.s.l.). Preferring open, seasonally damp or poorly drained ground, usually within gumland, tea tree scrub or within pakihi or on the margins of low moor peat bogs. Sometimes an invasive weed of rough or poorly drained pasture. Rarely on ultramafics.
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).
Densely tufted, caespitose sedge. Culms numerous, 70-600 x 0.5-1.0 mm, densely packed at base, otherwise rather flaccid, unbranched, glabrous, occasionally finely scabrid just below inflorescence. Leaves 40-200(-600) mm long, usually less than, or rarely equal to the culm length; yellow green to green, linear to very narrow-linear, acute, channelled, margins slightly scabrid; sheaths membranous, reddish to red-purple. Panicle of 2-3 distant, or more or less approximate fascicles, the terminal usually with sessile to subsessile, densely clustered spikelets, lower fascicles, stalked, bearing loosely clustered spikelets; bract subtending each fascicle leaf-like, lowest bract overtopping whole inflorescence. Spikelets 4-6 mm long, 2-4-flowered. Glumes dark red, reddish purple to almost black, glossy, rarely pale cream near the slightly scabrid midrib, lower 1-3 glumes usually empty, often mucronate. Hypogynous bristles 6, > nut. Stamens 3. Style-branches 3. Nut slightly less than 1.0 x 0.5 mm, white with the 3 angles green or yellow, elliptic-oblong, almost globose, obtuse, apiculate, surface when viewed with a lens, conspicuously cellular, individual cells large.
Schoenus caespitans is very similar (and is regarded by some as a mere variety). From S. caespitans. S. apogon differs by its taller, more openly flaccid growth habit, culms up to 600 x 1 mm, leaves mostly less than, only rarely equal in length to the culms, 2-4-flowered spikelets that are 4-6 mm long (in S. caespitans the spikelets are 1(-2)-flowered and 3-5 mm long) and by the reddish glumes which are only rarely cream near the midrib, rather than distinctly, and centrally blotched cream. The surface of the nuts of S. apogon has conspicuous rather than distinctly smaller, minute cells.
August - April
September - June
Easily grown from rooted pieces and fresh seed. An excellent pot plant. Quite tolerant of dry conditions as well as wet. Requires full sun.
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Both Schoenus apogon and S. caespitans have the lowest known chromosome number for any indigenous vascular plant.
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.