Caustis flexuosa R.Br.

Curly Wig

Prodr. 239 (1810) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Perennial with short rhizome. Culms scabrous to smooth, 15–90 cm high, 1.5–2.5 mm diam. Leaf sheaths dark red-brown to dark grey-brown. Inflorescence with 7–14 distant clusters of branches, 20–80 cm long, ultimate branches strongly curled or flexuose. Spikelets (1–)2-flowered, 6–10 mm long, often ± falcate; glumes 4–5(–7), long-acute, mostly mucronate, dark red-brown, glabrous or sparsely puberulous, margins hyaline and glabrous, 6–10 mm long; stamens 3 or 4; anthers 3.7–4.5 mm long, excluding apical appendage 0.3–0.5 mm long; style 3-fid; persistent style-base 1.5–3 mm long, dark purplish-red. Nut narrow-ellipsoid to ellipsoid, whitish to straw-coloured, coarsely and irregularly reticulate, minutely dotted, 3.5–5 mm long, 1.8–2.5 mm diam. Flowers spring–summer.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, GGr, HSF, LoM, OtP, OtR, VVP, Wim. Also Qld, NSW. In dry sclerophyll forests or heathy woodland, on sandy or gravelly soils derived from sandstone or granite. Mostly near the coast, but with isolated inland occurrences in the Grampians, Lerderderg Gorge, and the Tynong-Tonimbuk area.

In the western part of the species' range, plants have less curly branches and generally fewer branches per node, with very few sterile branches. Such plants have been named Caustis restiacea and, although possibly worth recognizing as a subspecies, in the absence of other distinguishing features, they are here included in C. flexuosa.

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, 2017-08-04
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Cyperaceae
genus Caustis
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Caustis flexuosa in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Caustis flexuosa in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native

State distribution

Distribution map
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory