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Manual of the New Zealand Flora.

7. Carpha, R. Br

7. Carpha, R. Br.

Perennial herbs. Leaves crowded at the base of the stem, usually shorter than it. Spikelets numerous, narrow, 1-flowered, arranged in a terminal corymb or panicle, sometimes contracted into a more or less dense head. Glumes usually 4, distichous; the 2 lowest small, empty; the third large, also empty; the uppermost about the same size, with a single hermaphrodite flower in its axil. Hypogynous bristles 6, plumose, much enlarged in fruit and exceeding the glumes. Stamens 3. Style-branches 3. Nut oblong, 3-angled, narrowed above into the persistent and hardened base of the style.

In addition to the New Zealand species, which is also found in Tasmania, Victoria, and on the mountains of New Guinea, there is another closely allied one in Chili and Fuegia.

  • 1. C. alpina, R. Br. Prodr. 230.—A tufted grass-like herb 3–12 in. high. Leaves usually shorter than the stems, numerous, narrow-linear, rigid, obtuse at the tip, flat or concave, grooved, dilated at the base into broad membranous sheaths. Spikelets ⅓–½ in. long, lanceolate, compressed, arranged in a corymbose manner at the top of the stem, in small specimens crowded into a head. Bracts leafy, usually exceeding the inflorescence. Glumes rigidly membranous, linear-oblong, pale, shining, concave. Hypogynous bristles very large, in the fruiting stage exceeding the glumes, conspicuously plumose for their whole length. Nut narrow-oblong, prismatic, tipped by the long hardened base of the style.—Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 273; Fl. Tasm. ii. 84; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 299; Benth. Fl. Austral. vii. 381, and in Hook. Ic. Plant. t. 1216.

    North Island: Mountain districts from Moehau (Cape Colville) and the East Cape southwards. South Island, Stewart Island: Abundant in hilly and mountain districts throughout. Auckland Islands: Carnley Harbour, Kirk! Usually from 2500 to 5000 ft., but descends to sea-level in Stewart Island. December–February.