Carex inopinata (Grassy Mat Sedge)
Species: C. inopinata
Binomial name: Carex inopinata
Common Names: Grassy Mat Sedge, Unexpected Sedge
Carex inopinata is a small very drought tolerant creeping sedge with narrow grass like leaves (blades) no more than 10cm long and 2mm wide. Sedges are monocotyledonous graminoid flowering plants which superficially resemble grasses or rushes.
The leaves are bright green above and are paler underneath. The plant itself seldom stands more than 5cm tall. The flower stems which are shorter than the leaves have usually three short flower spikes.
Carex inopinata in naturally endangered and is endemic to the Eastern South Island from the upper Awatere River to Deep Creek and Tapanui, Southland. In Central Otago it occurs near Bendigo. It has been found in several different high fertility habitats. These include alluvial terraces, limestone and schist overhangs, and at a forest margin.
It rarely flowers but if it does it’s during October to January and fruiting then occurs November to February.
Due to its diminutive stature and its open, diffuse mat-forming habit it is vulnerable to being smothered by introduced weeds. Because of this competition from other taller or faster growing plants it is thought that is the reason favours semi-shaded situations.
Photographed at Te Kainga Marire Gardens at Spencer Place.