Plants of
South Australia
Carex gaudichaudiana
Cyperaceae
Fen Sedge
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

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 derived from ancient Greek 'keiro' meaning to cut, referring to the sharp edge of leaf margins. Gaudichaudiana named after Charles Gaudichaud-Baupré (1789-1854), a French botanist and physician.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east in South Australia with an isolated population in Wilpena Pound; growing in wet places. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Uncommon in Queensland. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Sedge with stems to 60 cm high, acutely triquetrous with scabrous margins. Leaves often longer than the stem, flat. Flower-spikes 3-8, cylindrical, to 6 cm long, distinct, sessile fruit spikes, except the lowest which is sometimes shortly pedunculate; the upper 1 or 2 male, the others female or shortly male at the top; lower bracts long, sometimes as long as the inflorescence; glumes with dark brown- purple sides; lanceolate, narrowly obtuse and often mucronate. Fruits are brown, clusters of erect heads, each containing numerous individual fruit. Seeds are dark brown semi-flat globular seed to 3 mm long and 2.5 mm wide, covered by a striated ovoid, papery layer. 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 one collection, the seed viability was low, at 40%.

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
4,360 (3.97 g)
4,360 (3.97 g)
20-Dec-2006DJD731
Murray
1-Aug-200745%-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.