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Genus Carpha Family Cyperaceae

Description: Perennial herbs with short rhizome. Culms tufted, nodeless, trigonous.

Leaves basal; ligule absent.

Inflorescence condensed, 1–3 loosely head-like or obconical clusters of shortly pedicellate spikelets. Spikelets compressed, 1-flowered. Rachilla short, straight, not produced beyond the flowers. Glumes 4 or 5, distichous, the lower ones empty, about half the size of upper glumes, the uppermost glume bristly to linear and thin-textured. Hypogynous bristles 6, antrorsely plumose for most or all of their length, falling with nut. Stamens 3. Style base continuous with ovary, terete, rigid, persistent; stigmas 3.

Nut trigonous, shortly stipitate.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: 4 or 5 species, Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand & South America. Australia: 4 species (3 species endemic), N.S.W., Vic., Tas.

Text by K. L. Wilson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Spikelets 8–12 mm long; body of nut 2.5–3.5 mm long, 0.8–1.0 mm diam.; hypogynous bristles 7–10 mm long; leaf sheaths pale to dark yellow-brownCarpha alpina
Spikelets 13–18 mm long; body of nut 3.5–4.5 mm long, c. 1.2 mm diam.; hypogynous bristles 12–15 mm long; leaf sheaths pale red-brown or dark yellow-brown near base, paler aboveCarpha nivicola

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