T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Grasses, Sedges, Rushes, Restios (Natives & Exotics) .

Grasses, sedges and rushes all are graminoids (Families of Poaceae, Juncaceae and Cyperaceae), 

Grasses are of the Poaceae family.

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
(Unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae

The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns (turf) and grassland. Grasses can be either annuals or perennials.

Members of the grass family have the following features.

Leaves are ligulate (having the shape of a strap); sheaths are open, and the alternate leaves form two ranks (the leaves come out on the two opposite sides of the stem). 
Stems are round, hollow at the internodes.
Fruits are grains.
Flowers are modified into glumes (a basal, membranous, outer sterile husk or bract), lemmas (specialised bracts enclosing a floret), and paleas (bract-like organs in the spikelet)

Parts of a single grass spikelet, consisting of two glumes, four fertile florets, with one additional central floret that may or may not be sterile.

A cross-section of a grass stem. It is slightly flattened and is noticeably hollow.



Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
(Unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Restionaceae
Genus: Restio

Restio is the name of a group of plants within the Restionaceae described as a genus in 1772. The entire genus is endemic to South Africa (Cape Province and KwaZulu-Natal). 
Restios are widely cultivated for use a garden ornamentals for their attractive nodular foliage and mild frost hardiness.

Sedges are of the Cyperaceae family.

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked):  Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
(Unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae

Sedges include many wild marsh and grassland plants. Sedges are all perennials

Members of the sedge family have the following features.

Stems are 3-sided and solid (with occasional exceptions).
Leaves sheaths are closed, spirally arranged in 3-ranked (three ranked means the leaves come out from three different sides of the stem).
Flowers are scales
Stems are 3-sided and solid.
Fruit are achene (simple dry fruit)

Rushes are a member of the Juncaceae family..

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
(Unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Juncaceae

Rushes are slow-growing, rhizomatous, herbaceous plants, and they may superficially resemble grasses. A few rushes are annuals, but most are perennials.

Members of the Rush family have the following features.

Stems are cylindrical or slightly tapering and without substantial furrows or ridges and with a solid pith.
Leaf sheaths are open ligulate (thin outgrowth at the junction of leaf and leafstalk), sheaths open, 2-ranked (occur on two rows on opposite sides of the stems).
Fruit is a capsule with tiny dust-like seeds.

A cross-section of a rush stem with a cylindrical shape and its 
vascular tissues is visible.


Agrostis muelleriana (Muellers Bent)

Ammophila arenaria (Marram grass)

Anemanthele lessoniana (Gossamer grass) 

Austroderia species (Toetoe) 

Austroderia fulvida (Toetoe North Island)

Austroderia richardii (Toetoe South Island)

Austroderia turbaria (Chatham Island Toetoe)

Australopyrum calcis subsp. calcis (Limestone wheatgrass) 

Bromus diandrus (Ripgut brome)

Chionochloa beddiei (Cook Strait Tussock)

Chionochloa bromoides (Seabird Tussock)  

Chionochloa flavicans (Miniature Toe Toe)

Chionochloa pallens (Mid-ribbed snow tussock)

Chionochloa rubra rubra rubra (Red tussock)

Chloris truncata (Windmill grass)

Critesion marinum (Salt barley grass)  

Cynodon dactylon (Bermuda grass)  

Cyperus eragrostis (Tall flatsedge)

Cyperus ustulatus (Giant umbrella sedge)

Echinochloa crus-galli (Barnyard grass)

Ehrharta erecta (Panic Veldt grass)

Eragrostis curvula (Weeping love grass)

Festuca coxii (Cox’s fescue)  

Festuca glauca (Exotic) Blue fescue

Festuca multinodis (Creeping fescue) 

Festuca novae-zelandiae (Hard tussock) 

Hierochloe redolens (karetu)

Lachnagrostis billardierei subsp. billardierei (Sand Wind Grass)

Microlaena stipoides (Weeping rice grass) 

Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese silver grass)

Nassella trichotoma (Nassella tussock)

Paspalum (Paspalum dilatatum)  

Paspalum distichum (Mercer grass)

Pennisetum alopecuroides (Fountain grass)

Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass)

Pennisetum macrourum (African feather grass)

Phyllostachys species (Bamboo)

Poa annua (Annual meadow grass) 

Poa anceps (Broad-leaved poa)

Rytidosperma petrosum (Cook Strait bristlegrass)  

Rytidosperma setifolium (Bristle tussock)

Spinifex sericeus (Kowhangatara) 

Zoysia minima (Prickly couch)


Restio festuciformis (Green Grass Reed)

Thamnochortus cinereus (Silver reed)

Thamnochortus rigidus (Cape reed)


Apodasmia similis (Jointed wire rush)

Ficinia nodosa (Knobby club rush) 

Juncus acutus (Spiny or sharp rush)

Juncus articulatus (Joint leaf rush) Exotic

Juncus bulbosus (Bulbous rush) Exotic

Juncus effuses (Soft rush)

Juncus lomatophyllus (Broad-leaved rush) Exotic 

Lomandra longifolia (Spiny headed mat rush) Exotic


Carex appressa (Appressed sedge)

Carex buchananii (Buchanans sedge)

Carex comans (Longwood tussock)    

Carex dissita (Purie)

Carex echinata (Star sedge)

Carex dipsacea (Teasel Sedge)

Carex flagellifera (Glen Murray tussock)  

Carex forster (Bush sedge)

Carex geminata (Wetland cutty grass)

Carex inopinata (Grassy Mat Sedge)

Carex pendula (Hanging sedge)

Carex lambertiana (Forest sedge) 

Carex lessoniana (Spreading swamp sedge)

Carex longebrachiata (Australian sedge)

Carex maorica (Maori sedge)

Carex morrowii (Morrows Sedge)

Carex oshimensis 'Everest' (Everest sedge)

Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ (Oshima sedge)

Carex secta (Pukio)

Carex solandri (Solander's Sedge)

Carex tenuiculmis (Slender Niggerhead)  

Carex testacea   

Carex trifida (Mutton­bird Sedge)   

Carpha alpina (Carpha)  

Cyperus brevifolius (Shortleaf Spikesedge) Kyllinga brevifolia 

Cyperus haspan (Dwarf papyrus)

Cyperus papyrus (Papyrus)

Cyperus ustulatus (Giant umbrella sedge)

Eleocharis sphacelata (Tall spike rush)

Ficinia spiralis (Pingao) 

Gahnia pauciflora (Cutting sedge) 

Gahnia rigida

Gahnia xanthocarpa (Giant cutty grass, Mapere)

Isolepis prolifera (Proliferating Bulrush)

Lepidosperma laterale (Sword sedge)

Schoenus pauciflorus (Sedge tussock) 

Uncinia strictissima (Hook sedge) 

Uncinia uncinata (Hook Grass)

Special thanks to the staff of Otari Native Botanic Garden, Wellington. These gardens are the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. There are around five hectares of cultivated native plant collections and about 96 hectares of mature and regenerating native forest. It is classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. 


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New Zealand in Flower By Alison Evans
Which Native Plant by Andrew Crowe
Hebes by Lawrie Metcalf
Vegetation of Egmont National Park by B Clarkson
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Hebes Lawrie Metcalfe
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