Plants of
South Australia
Carex gunniana
Cyperaceae
Mountain Sedge
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
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Oodnadatta
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Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

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. Gunniana named in honour of Ronald Campbell Gunn (1808-1881), a pioneer botanist and scientist who collected the type specimen from Tasmania.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east in South Australia with an isolated population near Melrose, growing in swampy ground adjacent to watercourses. Also found in Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Rare in South Australia. Uncommon in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australian Arid Lands, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Densely tufted sedge with and triangular stems. Leaves shorter or longer than culms, to 10 mm wide with pale brown sheath. Inflorescence narrow, spreading to erect, with spikes solitary at nodes. Spikes short-pedunculate, upper contiguous, lowest very distant, spreading to erect at maturity. Uppermost spike male and lower spikes female with glumes obtuse to acute, often shortly mucronate, pale red-brown. Flowering between October and March. Fruits are pale green to brown, clusters of erect heads, each containing numerous individual fruit. Seeds are broad-obovoid, trigonous, dark yellow-brown to nearly black nut, covered by a striated papery layer (utricle), green, dotted red-brown with apex notched. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and May. 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. Seed viability is usually high.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
2,300 (7.06 g)
2,300 (7.06 g)
50+10-Jan-2007DJD742
South Eastern
1-Aug-200775%-18°C
BGA4,400 (10.36 g)50+19-Dec-2007TST303
Southern Lofty
19-Sep-2008100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA23,600 (67.21 g)100+12-Dec-2017DJD3705
South Eastern
30-Jun-201890%-18°C, -80°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.