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

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.

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. Fascicularis means clustered or grouped together in bundles, referring to the structure of the inflorescence.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and the lower South-east in South Australia growing in wet places. Also found in all other States. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Rare in Northern Territory. Uncommon in Western Australia and Queensland. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial sedge with stems to over 50 cm high, acutely triquetrous, scabrous on the margins. Leaves nearly as long, to 8 mm broad. Bracts leafy, much exceeding the inflorescence, with scarcely any or no sheaths. Flower-spikes 3-6, pedunculate, drooping, all close together at the top of the stem, cylindrical, 3-6 cm long, the terminal one male, the others female; glumes with scabrid awns, utricles divergent or reflexed, obtusely trigonous, prominently nerved, ovoid-ellipsoid on rather long stipes and with a long narrow-spreading deeply 2-fid beak with spreading teeth, in all 4-5 mm long; style branches 3. Fruits are pale brown, clusters of drooping heads, each containing numerous individual fruit. Seeds are brown ellipsoid seed to 3 mm long and 2 mm wide, covered by a striated papery layer with a long forked tail. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and April. Collect fruits either by running your hands along the heads; 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 85% to 100%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA18,800 (28.79 g)50+28-Apr-2004DJD4
Southern Lofty
1-Sep-2004N/C+5°C, -18°C
BGA 
MSB
17,800 (24.65 g)
17,800 (24.65 g)
4015-Feb-2006DJD391
South Eastern
28-Jul-2006100%-18°C
BGA 
MSB
4,350 (5.41 g)
4,350 (5.41 g)
5-Feb-2007RLT1152
Southern Lofty
1-Aug-200785%-18°C
BGA54,000 (70.23 g)1-Jan-2007RJB71063
Southern Lofty
1-Aug-2007100%-18°C
BGA14,000 (13.05 g)2-Feb-2010Clayton
Southern Lofty
1-Jan-201690%-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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