Scientific name: Carex secta
Wetland plant group: Sedge
Plant growth form: Up to 1m tall
Flowering: Flower spikes present in summer
Related species: There are 56 Carex species that grow in wetlands in New Zealand. Some of them look very similar to Carex secta.
Pūrei is one of the most common and well known of the Carex species. Older plants form a thick trunk of old roots and stems. Both the leaves and seed heads are droopy, giving the plant a graceful appearance. Carex virgata, another wetland species, looks very similar but has rigid seed heads. Both plants are known as pūrei or, in the Wairarapa, pūkio.
Carex comes from the Greek word 'kerio' meaning 'to cut'. Be careful not to cut yourself on the sharp edges of the leaves.