Scientific Name:
Carex penalpina K.A.Ford in Global Carex Group, Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 179: 35 (2015)
  • = Uncinia fuscovaginata Kük. (1904)
  • Uncinia purpurata var. fuscovaginata (Kük.) Cheeseman, Man. New Zealand Fl. 801 (1906)
  • = Uncinia fuscovaginata var. caespitans Hamlin, 19: 21 (1959)
The name refers to this species being often found in almost alpine tussock-grassland; from the Latin paene or pene, nearly, and alpinus, alpine.

Shortly rhizomatous or loosely caespitose. Rhizome woody, 2–3 mm. diam. Culms (8)–12–25–(35) cm. × (0.7)–1–1.5–(2) mm., stiffly erect, scabrid below infl.; basal bracts dull reddish brown or dull dark brown. Lvs 4–7 per culm, < or ± = culms, 1.5–4–(5) mm. wide, rigid, curved, coriac., bright green or yellow-green, margins us. harshly scabrid but occ. almost glab., upper surface towards tip also scabrid. Spikes (2)–3–6–(7.5) cm. × 3–7 mm., linear to subclavate, occ. bracteate, female fls us. 10–15, us. close-set, rarely rather lax, internodes to 6 mm. long at base of spike, 2–3 mm. long above. Glumes slightly >, = or slightly < utricles, persistent, ovate, obtuse or lowermost subacute, coriac., greenish brown, light brown or dull dark brown, rarely bright chestnut-brown, midrib broad, green, margins white, hyaline. Utricles 5–7.5 × 1.5–2 mm., plano-convex or concavo-convex, ovate or obovate, many-nerved, tapered above to a beak 1.5–2 mm. long, slightly narrowed at the base to a stipe 1–2 mm. long.

[From:  Moore and Edgar (1970) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 2. as Uncinia fuscovaginata Kük.]

Indigenous (Endemic)
Cheeseman, T.F. 1906: Manual of the New Zealand Flora. Government Printer, Wellington.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [as Uncinia fuscovaginata Kük.] [Not Threatened]
Global Carex Group 2015: Making Carex monophyletic (Cyperaceae, tribe Cariceae): a new broader circumscription. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 179: 1–42.
Hamlin, B.G. 1959: A Revision of the Genus Uncinia (Cyperaceae Caricoideae) in New Zealand. Dominion Museum Bulletin 19: 1–106.