Plants of
South Australia
Carex appressa
Cyperaceae
Tussock Sedge
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 6.

Etymology

Carex is the classical Latin name for sedge, perhaps from 'carere' meaning to be absent, as the upper spikes are staminate (male) and do not produce seeds. May have been used by Virgil for plants in this genus and derives from ancient Greek 'keiro' meaning to cut, referring to the sharp edge of leaf margins. Appressa meaning lying close together, (seeds pressed against the stem).

Distribution and status

Found in the Flinders Ranges, Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and the lower South-east in South Australia growing in damp areas including standing water. Also found in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Densely tufted sedge with tall stems to 1 m or so high, acutely triquetrous, scabrous on the edges towards the summit. Leaves to 6 mm wide, with scabrous margins. Inflorescence a long narrow spike-like panicle to 25 cm long, with inconspicuous bracts or the lowest sometimes prominent and filiform, spikelets very numerous, androgynous, ovoid, c. 5 mm long, glumes more or less hyaline, acute or subacute, shortly mucronate, the sides stained chestnut. Fruits are pale brown, clusters of erect heads, each containing numerous individual fruit. Seeds are brown ellipsoid seed to 4 mm long and 3 mm wide covered by a striated papery layer (utricle) with serrated margin.. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and April. Collect fruits either by running your hands along the heads when mature seeds will come-off easily, or cut whole heads that are brown, containing dark hard seeds. Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From three collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 90% to 95%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
8,800 (5.73 g)
8,800 (5.73 g)
4027-Apr-2004DJD3
Southern Lofty
1-Sep-2004N/C+5°C, -18°C
BGA 
MSB
13,000 (20.81 g)
13,000 (20.81 g)
50+24-Jan-2006KHB48
Southern Lofty
28-Jul-200695%-18°C
BGA6,300 (4.87 g)16-Jan-2007RJB70906
South Eastern
1-Aug-200790%-18°C
BGA19,200 (21.17 g)207-Dec-2006RJB70979C
Southern Lofty
1-Aug-200795%-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table:
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