Juncaceae . . . . . Rushes


Choose leaf form:


But see also other possibilities for apparently tubular leaves/stems:


Juncus . . . . True Rushes

True rushes -choose from:-


See also round-stemmed Sedges:

Heads apparently clustered to side of stem - often compact:



More open panicles - near end of stem



Sprawling, or low or fine-leaved Rushes



Flowers in dense single heads (1st 3 are alpine spp.)



But see also:

Juncus . . . . True Rushes

Juncus acutiflorus . . . . Sharp-flowered Rush

Fruit with long tapered point; rounded, not flattened leaves; tepal tips sharp and recurved

Juncus acutus . . . . Sharp Rush

A very hard and sharp (beware!!) tip; very local on drier saltmarshes (CI to Norfolk)


Juncus articulatus . . . . Jointed Rush

Slightly flattened leaves with distinct transverse septa (felt if you pull a leaf between finger and thumb); outer tepals not curved outwards (recurved)


A similar plant of mountains, with rounded tepals in C & S Sc & N En is J. alpinoarticulatus

Juncus balticus . . . . Baltic Rush

Also has lateral flowers, c. 1/4 way down smooth stem with continuous pith; local on saltmarshes from Fife Northwards

Juncus biglumis . . . . Two-flowered Rush

Rare on mountain flushes in C Highlands to Hebrides; flowers one above other

Juncus bufonius . . . . Toad Rush

Often gives the impression of a pearlwort ( Sagina sp.)

Juncus bulbosus . . . . Bulbous Rush

Common in wet places, one form upright on land and one sprawling aquatic (Pic 4); often reddish

Note the bulbils among roots; commonly viviparous:

Juncus capitatus . . . . Dwarf Rush

V. small (<5cm) with compact terminal flowerhead; Very local in CI, Cornwall and Anglesea; the 2 r.h. pictures show it with J. bufonius


Juncus castaneus . . . . Chestnut Rush

Rare on mountain flushes in C & NW Highlands of Sc

Juncus conglomeratus . . . . Compact Rush

Very dense panicles; stem with about 40 ridges (esp. below flower)

N.B. there is a variety subconglomeratus with dense panicles that resembles J. conglomeratus but with smooth stems.

Juncus effusus . . . . Soft Rush

Smooth stems with continuous pith

Juncus gerardii . . . . Saltmarsh Rush

Leaves channeled on upper side; common around BI coasts


Juncus inflexus . . . . Hard Rush

Note ridged, rather thin, stems with <20 ridges; Loose inflorescence

Juncus maritimus . . . . Sea Rush


Juncus squarrosus . . . . Heath Rush

Common on moorland

Juncus subnodulosus . . . . Blunt-flowered Rush

Pale; Leaf flattened hollow with both longitudinal and many cross joints; locally frequent in marshes and duneslacks in En, Wa, Ire and uncommon in Jersey and S Sc

Juncus tenuis . . . . Slender Rush

Common on paths and tracks


Juncus trifidus . . . . Three-leaved Rush

On bare ground on Scottish mountain tops only:

Juncus triglumis . . . . Three-flowered Rush

Local on mountain tops only:


Luzula . . . Woodrushes

Flat grass-like leaves with fine hairs on edges

Select from the 8 spp. listed below:



Luzula campestris . . . . Field Woodrush

Note L. campestris has one sessile and 3 stalked heads, a very short bract below flower and tepals with blunt tips and bright yellow anthers >>filaments; c.f. L. multiflora (heath woodrush)

Luzula forsteri . . . . Southern Woodrush

Local CI and S En; like L. pilosa but individual fls 'raked forward' not out at all angles, lvs < c.4mm

Similar to Hairy Woodrush (L. pilosa):

Luzula luzuloides . . . . White Woodrush

An ornamental sometimes naturalised across Br; differs from L. nivea with fls not quite white and Tepals <3.5mm

See also the sp. below:

Luzula nivea . . . . Snow-white Woodrush

An ornamental sometimes naturalised across Br; differs from L. luzuloides with fls pure white and Tepals >3.5mm

Luzula multiflora . . . . Heath Woodrush

Has anthers = filaments, tepals with sharp tips and also bracts longer than flower head (c.f. L. campestris, above)

Luzula multiflora ssp. Congesta . . . . Heath Woodrush

Distinguished from L. campestris by bract longer than flower head

Luzula pilosa . . . . Hairy Woodrush

Lvs >4 mm wide; fl stalks in all directions


Similar to Southern Woodrush (L. forsteri):

Luzula spicata . . . . Spiked Woodrush

On Scottish mountain tops; characteristic nodding head

Luzula sylvatica . . . . . Great (or Wood) Woodrush

Much the largest woodrush, common in woodland across BI, exc. C & E En