Carex capillacea Boott

Hair Sedge

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

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Threat status:Victoria: rare (r)

Rhizome short; shoots densely tufted. Culms erect, slender, terete to trigonous, smooth, 3–15(–30) cm long, c. 0.5 mm diam. Leaves usually shorter than culms, c. 0.5 mm wide; sheath green to pale brown; ligule obtuse. Inflorescence erect, 0.5–1 cm long, with 1 spike; lowest involucral bract shorter than inflorescence. Spike with male portion above and as long as female portion; glumes obtuse, orange-brown; female glumes 1.3–2 mm long; utricles 1.8–2.4 mm long, c. 1 mm diam., ovoid, strongly nerved, glabrous, pale brown, sometimes red-dotted; beak 0.2–0.5 mm long, with apex notched; style 3-fid. Nut ovoid, trigonous, pale brown, occasionally red-dotted. Flowers summer.

EGU, HNF, SnM, VAlp. Also NSW, ACT, Tas. New Zealand, Asia to India. Scattered in alpine areas, bordering high-altitude swamps and wet alpine heathlands, usually associated with Sphagnum moss, but rather uncommon (e.g. at Snowy Range, Bogong High Plains, Nunniong Plateau, Davies Plain, Cobberas).

Inflorescence a single spike as in Carex cephalotes and C. archeri, but the inflorescence more slender, with a longer male portion than in either of those species.

Carex capillacea has in the past sometimes being treated as Carex rara subsp. capillacea. Nelmes (1951) considered C. capillacea to be distinct from C. rara, noting that the Australian and New Zealand plants match those from India closely.

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

Nelmes, E. (1951). The genus Carex in Malaysia, Reinwardtia 1(3): 221-450.

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