Carex echinata Murray

Star Sedge

Prodr. Stirp. Goetting 76 (1770) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Threat status:Victoria: endangered (e)

Rhizome very short; shoots densely tufted. Culms erect, trigonous to subterete, smooth or scarcely scaberulous just below the inflorescence, 4–30(–70) cm long, 0.5 mm diam. Leaves shorter than to exceeding culms, 0.5–1.5 mm wide, margins antrorsely scabrous; sheath pale brown; ligule rounded. Inflorescence small, narrow, erect, 1–3 cm long, with 3–5 spikes solitary at nodes; lowest involucral bract very short. Spikes sessile, ± distant, 0.3–0.7 cm long, each spike usually developing only a few utricles; uppermost spike with female flowers above male flowers; lower spikes female; glumes acute to obtuse, pale red-brown with green midrib and broad hyaline margins; female glumes 1.5–2.5 mm long; utricles 2.5–3.5 mm long, 1.0–1.5 mm diam., ovoid, ± falcate, with truncate thickened base, faintly nerved, hispid on upper margins, yellow-brown, spreading or strongly reflexed at maturity; beak prominent, c. 1 mm long, with apex bifid or notched; style 2-fid. Nut ovoid to broad-ellipsoid, lenticular, yellow-brown. Flowers summer.

HNF, VAlp. Also NSW. Native to New Guinea, New Zealand, Eurasia, North America. Confined to the higher alps (Bogong High Plains, Buckety Plain and Cobberas areas) where rather uncommon, occurring in wet valley-floor bogs and heaths.

Mature inflorescences with widely spreading utricles, forming star-shaped clusters, making this species easy to recognise.

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, 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 echinata in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Carex echinata in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Victorian Alps present native

State distribution

Distribution map
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory