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Baumea articulata


Cladium articulatum R.Br.; Machaerina articulata (R.Br.) Koyama

Common in the North Island, but rare in the South Island - found only around Nelson. Also found in Australia, New Caledonia, The New Hebrides and New Guinea. Found in wet places in depths of water up to 2 m.

A large erect sedge up to 2 m high and forming patches 10 m across or more. Leaves are articulated, cylindrical and about 1 cm thick. The flowers are held at the same height or slightly lower than the leaves. The flower heads droop to one side like a horse's tail, dull brown in colour 12 - 30 cm long. Seed are dull brown and triangular. Flowers are borne in spring and the seed are ripe in autumn. Although the leaves are dark green the overall effect in a wetland when en masse is almost black or dark brown. The leaves are very dense and turn a silver colour when they die off.

This species is big, fast and needs to do its own thing. It may be contained in a large pot for a pond but will need regular repotting to keep it healthy. Ideally this species should be used for large landscaping projects where naturalizing is desired or for revegetating a wetland. Although this species can handle dry periods it does prefer deep water, up to 1.5 m, in full sun. This is one of the important species of sedge that birds such as the bittern rely on for cover and nesting.

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