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Juncus: From the Latin jungere 'to tie or bind', the stems of some species being used to make cord (Johnson and Smith)
leafless rush, wiwi
Current Threat Status
2012 - Not Threatened
Previous Threat Status
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened
Juncus australis Hook.f.
Vascular - Native
Indigenous. Kermadec, North, South Islands. Present on Norfolk Island and Australia
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 disturbed sites has probably increased its range following human settlement
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.
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.
September - December
Main Flower Colour
Other Flower Colour
November - May
Easily grown from fresh seed. Unlikely to prove a popular garden plant. Mostly regarded as a weed when it invades pasture.
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 24 Apr 2018