Carex polyantha F.Muell

River Sedge

Defin. Austral. Pl.: 33 ; Trans. Philos. Soc. Victoria 1: 110 (1855)

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Rhizome long; shoots densely tufted. Culms erect, trigonous, smooth below, scabrous above, 20–80 cm long, c. 2.5 mm diam. Leaves about as long as culms, 4–9 mm wide; sheath orange-brown; ligule acute to retuse. Inflorescence erect, 10–55 cm long, with 5–8 spikes solitary at nodes; lowest involucral bracts exceeding inflorescence. Spikes sessile to subsessile, distant, erect to spreading at maturity, 2–17 cm long, upper 1–5 spikes entirely male or occasionally with female flowers below; lower spikes female or with male flowers above; glumes very narrow, acute to acuminate, dark red-brown with paler midrib; female glumes 2–3.5 mm long; utricles 2–3 mm long, c. 1.5 mm diam., obovoid to ovoid, nerveless or faintly nerved, glabrous, occasionally minutely papillose at apex, rarely scattered-hispid at apex, pale brown but densely red-dotted; beak short but distinct, 0.2–0.3 mm long, with apex truncate or notched; style 2 (rarely 3)-fid. Nut obovoid, lenticular, pale yellow. Flowers spring–summer.

CVU, EGL, EGU, GipP, Gold, HNF, HSF, MonT, NIS, SnM, VAlp, VRiv, VVP. Also Qld, NSW, ACT, Tas. Rather common along rocky and sandy stream margins, chiefly in foothills east of Melbourne, rarely ascending to the sub-alps (as at Big River near Mt Bogong), and along the Lerderderg River west of Melbourne.

Similar to Carex gaudichaudiana and C. hypandra, but the utricles usually taper more abruptly to the distinct, ± parallel-sided beak than in those 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, 2018-06-20
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 polyantha in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Carex polyantha in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory