New Zealand Sedges (Carex albula, C. buchananii, C. flagellifera and C. testacea)

What are New Zealand sedges?

New Zealand sedgeGeneric Weed Distribution Map
Image: New Zealand sedge, photo: Andrew Crane

  • New Zealand sedges are pasture and environmental weeds.
  • Four species of introduced New Zealand sedges are declared weeds under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999: New Zealand hair sedge Carex albula, leather leaf sedge C. buchananii, New Zealand sedge C. flagellifera, and New Zealand sedge C. testacea. These sedges are similar in appearance and weediness, and are dealt with together in this guide.
  • The importation, sale and distribution of New Zealand sedges are prohibited in Tasmania.

How to identify New Zealand sedges

  • All four species of New Zealand sedges are perennial (long-lived) grass-like herbs growing to 1.5 m high. The grass-like leaves emerge from the base of the plant and are often shiny, while the flowers occur in cylindrical spikes. Seeds of New Zealand sedge can germinate at any time, and plants do not flower until two years old.
  • There are slight differences in the appearance of the four declared species of New Zealand sedge. New Zealand hair sedge Carex albula has very fine, drooping whitish leaves that curl at the tips, forms very dense clumps, and can grow to 60 cm high. Flowering stems are shorter than the leaves. Leather leaf sedge C. buchananii is often reddish brown in colour and grows to 50 cm high. C. flagellifera has long prostrate flowering stems which can grow to 1.8 m and leaves in dense tufts to 75 cm long. C. testacea has flowering stems to 3 m long, trailing on the ground and leaves to 60 cm long.
  • New Zealand sedges can be difficult to identify and to distinguish from native sedges. If you need assistance in identifying a plant which may be a New Zealand sedge, contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550 for help.

New Zealand sedges in Tasmania

  • The distribution of New Zealand hair sedge Carex albula in Tasmania is limited to the area around Hobart. It has been recorded in Tasmania as an amenity planting and also appears in the nursery trade from time to time as 'Frosty curls' or 'Frosted curls'. New Zealand hair sedge C. albula can tolerate dry conditions better than most sedges, and like the other New Zealand sedges it competes aggressively with desirable plants, forming dense infestations, reducing pasture productivity and altering natural ecosystems.
  • New Zealand sedge C. flagellifera has been recorded at a number of sites in the Huon Valley (see map). Populations occur in disturbed sites such as roadsides and an abandoned quarry, and several infestations have established in native vegetation. New Zealand sedge C. flagellifera is a potentially serious environmental weed in Tasmania.
  • New Zealand sedge C. testacea in Tasmania was recorded around Hobart, although all populations have been eradicated.
  • There are no known leather leaf sedge C. buchananii populations in Tasmania.

What is the legal status of New Zealand in your area?

The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with New Zealand sedges are laid out in the four respective New Zealand sedge Statutory Weed Management Plans (see the Carex albula Statutory Management Plan, Carex buchananii Statutory Management Plan, Carex flagellifera Statutory Management Plan and Carex testacea Statutory Management Plan.

Use Table 1 (Zone A municipalities) in the Statutory Weed Management Plans to find out whether these weeds occur in your municipality.

Detailed management and control guidelines for New Zealand sedges can be found in the New Zealand Sedge Control Guide. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.

See also

New Zealand Sedge Control Guide

Statutory Management Plan for New Zealand Hair Sedge - Carex albula

Statutory Management Plan for New Zealand Sedge - Carex flagellifera

Statutory Management Plan for New Zealand Sedge - Carex testacea

Statutory Management Plan for New Zealand Leather Leaf Sedge - Carex buchananii

Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie
APVMA

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