Carex bichenoviana Boott

Plains Sedge

Ill. Gen. Carex 1: 44, pl. 110 (1858) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Rhizome long; shoots loosely tufted. Culms erect, trigonous, smooth, 20–40 cm long, 1.0–1.8 mm diam. Leaves exceeding culms, to 60 cm long, 2–8 mm wide, leaf margins usually regularly antrorsely scabrid; sheath fibrous, the front face deteriorating into a network of old veins with a central longitudinal strand and spreading lateral branches at intervals (sometimes termed ladder-fibrillose); dark yellow-brown, occasionally red-tinged sometimes transversely septate; ligule obtuse to truncate or retuse. Inflorescence narrow, erect, often longer than the culm, 6–30 cm long, with few to numerous spikes clustered or solitary at nodes; lowest involucral bracts exceeding inflorescence. Spikes sessile to shortly pedunculate, erect at maturity, 1–5 cm long; upper 2–15 spikes male, ± contiguous; lowest 1–7 spikes entirely female or with male flowers above, ± distant; glumes obtuse to retuse or acute, mostly shortly mucronate, dark to very dark red-brown, with whitish margins near apex; female glumes 3–4 mm long; utricles 4–5 mm long, 2.0–2.5 mm diam., broad-ovoid to ellipsoid, not nerved or with few to many faint (may be more prominent in immature utricles), ± impressed nerves, glabrous, inflated and corky, yellow-brown, usually tinged dark red-brown; beak c. 1 mm long, with apex bifid; style 3-fid. Nut broad-ellipsoid, trigonous, yellow- to red-brown. Flowers spring.

CVU, DunT, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, HNF, HSF, LoM, MuF, MuM, NIS, OtP, OtR, RobP, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WPro, Wim. Also SA, NSW, Tas. Naturalised in New Zealand. Scattered, mostly on heavier, seasonally wet soils in the north, occasional in southern and near-coastal sites (but replaced by the similar Carex pumila in truly coastal situations).

Carex bichenoviana is sometimes considered to be the inland counterpart of C. pumila. Both have corky utricles when mature. Carex bichenoviana differs from C. pumila in the rather regular antrorse scabrosities on the leaf margins (C. pumila has irregularly blunt scabrosities on the margins of leaves and bracts), the darker red-brown glumes that are mucronate, more obtuse and often erose. Some plants (e.g. from near Tubbut, Benambra and Ballarat) have a smaller inflorescence and thickened, narrow leaves that are curly towards the apex. Such plants may represent a separate taxon, which has previously been referred to as Carex aff. bichenoviana (Volcanic Lakes), but this entity is treated here as part of a broader concept of Carex bichenoviana pending a detailed study of the species.

Source: Wilson, K.L. (1994). Cyperaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-07-24
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Cyperaceae
genus Carex
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Carex bichenoviana in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Carex bichenoviana in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Robinvale Plains present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Victorian Alps present native

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory