Juncus australis

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Species

Juncus australis

Etymology

Juncus: From the Latin jungere 'to tie or bind', the stems of some species being used to make cord (Johnson and Smith)
australis: southern

Common Name(s)

leafless rush, wiwi

Current Threat Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Previous Threat Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened

Authority

Juncus australis Hook.f.

Family

Juncaceae

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Synonyms

None

Distribution

Indigenous. Kermadec, North, South Islands. Present on Norfolk Island and Australia

Habitat

Coastal to lower montane usually in damp pasture and swampy ground. Rarely within shrubland and open forest. Often on poorly drained clay soils. This species which flourishes in distrubed sites has probably increased its range following human settlement

Features

Broad, blue-green to grey-green loosely packed circular clumps, often with a few dead or live stems in the centre; occasionally not clump forming and with few stems. Rhizome 3-5 mm diameter, horizontal, just below soil surface (plants hard to pull out). Flowering stems 0.6-1.2 m tall, 1.5-4.0 mm diameter, hard, distinctly ridged, not shining, dull blue-green, glaucous to grey-green, pith interrupted, sometimes nearly absent, very rarely continuous; leaves absent; basal bracts numerous, very loosely sheathing chestnut-brown below grading through to straw-coloured in the uppermost bracts. Inflorescence apparently lateral, many-flowered, usually much branched, with flowers clustered at the ends of stout branchlet tips; sometimes condensed into a globose head > 15 mm diameter, with 1 or more, smaller, lateral clusters. Flowers 2.2-3.0 mm long, tepals pale green, later becoming light brown. Stamens 3(-4), rarely 3(-6). Capsule 2.3-.3.0 mm long, equal or slightly > in length than tepals, ovoid to obovoid, obtuse, almost retuse at apex, pale greenish brown.

Similar Taxa

The blue-green, glaucous to grey-green, ridged stems, and the usually interrupted to absent internal pith readily distinguish this species from other indigenous and exotic Juncus spp.

Flowering

September - December

Main Flower Colour

Green

Other Flower Colour

Brown

Fruiting

November - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Unlikely to prove a popular garden plant. Mostly regarded as a weed when it invades pasture.

Threats

Not Threatened

Endemic Taxon

No

Endemic Genus

No

Endemic Family

No

Where To Buy

Occasionally sold by specialist native plant nurseries

References and further reading

Johnson, A. T. and Smith, H. A (1986). Plant Names Simplified: Their pronunciation, derivation and meaning. Landsman Bookshop Ltd: Buckenhill, UK.

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Government Printer, Wellington.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

Mucilaginous seeds are  dispersed by attachment, wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).

This page last updated on 30 May 2015

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