Gahnia lacera

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Gahnia lacera


Gahnia: after Gahn

Common Name(s)

cutty grass

Current Threat Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Previous Threat Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Gahnia lacera (A.Rich.) Steud.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native


Lampocarya lacera A.Rich.


Endemic. North Island from Te Paki south to about Awakino in the west and East Cape in the East.


Coastal to lowland (rarely extending up to 500 m a.s.l. in mountain ranges close to the sea). Colonising a variety of substrates which may be seasonally waterlogged thoughotherwise dry. Usually found in scrub or open forest.


Stout, bambusiform, perennial sedge forming dense, yellowish-green tufts. Rhizome shortly creeping, 5-8 mm diameter, very hard, lignaceous, long persistent when dead. Culms 0.6-2.0 m, 2-4 but up to 6 mm diameter at the base. Leaves numerous, almost all cauline and = or > culms; lamina up to 380 mm long and 9 mm wide, yellow-green, green or dark green, flat or involute, glabrous, margins scabrid; sheaths all closely appressed to and enclosing base of culm, rugose above, maturing dark brown to almost black, smooth and glossy towards the node. Panicle 20-600 x 30-60 mm, rigid, usually erect, many-flowered, light brown with branchlets 20-160 mm long, usually in dense though more or less distant clusters along the axis of the panicle. Spikelets 1-flowered, 8 mm long, alternate on the branchlets, sessile or shortly stalked. Glumes 4-5; the outer 2-3 light red-brown; inner glumes pale cream, with a red lacerate apex. Stamens 4. Style-branches 3. Nut 3.5-4.5 mm long, slightly < 2 mm diameter, oblong-ellipsoid or oblong-obovoid, lustrous black, with a minute apiculate apex, endocarp obscurely transverse striate within.

Similar Taxa

Immediately distinguished from all other Gahnia species and Morelotia affinis (Brong.) Blake by the rhizomatous habit, and stout, bamboo-like culms


July - November

Main Flower Colour


Other Flower Colour



Fruits may be present throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Can be difficult to cultivate. The seed is difficult to germinate, and plants resent root disturbance and usually die if transplanted. However, considerable success has been achieved growing plants and/or germinating seed in untreated saw dust. Despite these problems this is an attractive species well worth attempting to grow. Once established it flourishes in a range of conditions but does best in full sun in a well drained or only seasonally wet soil.


Not Threatened

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


References and further reading

Gardner, R.O. 1996. Gahnia pauciflora and G. procera and a note on G. lacera. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 51: 7-10.

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 20 Nov 2015

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