Carex leporina L.

Oval Broom-sedge

Sp. Pl. 2: 973 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Rhizome short; shoots densely tufted. Culms erect to decumbent, trigonous, scabrous above, 10–60(–90) cm long, c. 1 mm diam. Leaves shorter than culms; blade 1–3.5 mm wide; sheath grey-brown; ligule obtuse to rounded. Inflorescence narrow, erect, 2–4 cm long, with 2–9 spikes solitary at nodes; lowest involucral bract shorter than inflorescence. Spikes sessile, slightly separated or contiguous, erect to spreading at maturity; spikes with female flowers above a few male flowers, or lower spikes wholly female, 0.5–1.5 cm long; glumes long-acute, yellow-brown with pale margins; female glumes 3–4.5 mm long, longer or shorter, wider or narrower than the utricle; utricles ellipsoid to ovoid, strongly several-nerved, 3.5–5 mm long, c. 2 mm diam., minutely hispid on winged upper margins, pale brown; prominent beak 1–1.5 mm long, with apex 2-fid or split abaxially, apex of beak unwinged; style 2-fid. Nut narrow-ellipsoid to obovoid, lenticular, yellow-brown. Flowers spring–summer.

*VAlp. Also naturalised in NSW, Tas. Native to Africa (Algeria, Morocco), Eurasia, North America (western part). Naturalised in New Zealand. Known in Victoria by several collections (including contemporary) from the Mount Buffalo area, and a single recent collection from JB Plain. The Marlo specimen previously attributed to C. leporina is based on a misdetermination of C. disticha. It is currently confined to the alpine region of Victoria. At Mount Buffalo it occurs near ski-lifts and around Lake Catani. At JB Plain it occurs in alpine grassy herbfield.

A member of section Ovales, a group which presents challenges for identification. Very easily confused with Carex tribuloides (see note for C. tribuloides var. tribuloides), and C. scoparia, which is currently only known to be naturalised in Tasmania. May also be confused with C. divisa from which it differs in having a short rhizome, and spikes with female flowers above a few male flowers, or lower spikes wholly female.

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 (as Carex ovalis Gooden.).
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2015-09-04
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 leporina in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Carex leporina in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Alps present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
New South Wales