Juncus: From the Latin jungere 'to tie or bind', the stems of some species being used to make cord (Johnson and Smith)
caespiticius: From the Latin caespes 'tuft' or 'sod of turf', meaning made of turf or turf-like
Current Threat Status
2012 - Not Threatened
Previous Threat Status
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened
Juncus caespiticius Meyer in Lehm.
Vascular - Native
Indigenous. North and South Islands. Present in Australia
Usually coastal. Growing in or near damp seepages, or on steep, damp cliff faces festooned with Blechnum blechnoides (Bory) Keyserl., Sonchus kirkii Hamlin, Machantia macropora Mitt. and Nostoc. Very rarely in dune swales or around the margins of brackish lagoons and streams. Also recorded on rock bluffs up to 500 m a.s.l.
Tufted, dark green to red-green perennial forming circular patches up to 100 mm diameter. Stems 80-450 x 1-2 mm. Leaves numerous, all basal, grass-like, << stems, solid, non-septate, lamina stiffly coriaceous, flattened at base and up to 8 mm wide, involute above and tapering to a slightly dilated tip, often mucronate in young leaves; sheath very broad and often pink-coloured, without auricles. Inflorescence terminal, contracted in most New Zealand plants into a many flowered, globose, bracteate red-brown to brown head (very rarely branched), bracts subtending inflorescence, 1-3, foliose with at least one >> inflorescence. Flowers 3 mm long; outer tepals acute or acuminate, shorter than the inner, more membranous, subobtuse tepals. Stamens 6. Capsule more or less equal in length to tepals, obtuse, mucronate.
Distinguished from J. planifolius R.Br., J. lomatophyllus Spreng., and J. dregeanus Kunth by the inflorescence which is usually a single, globose head, and by the broadly channelled leaves. Over the last 20 or so years a very similar, bright green to yellow green-leaved rush with dark black globose inflorescences has colonised the west coast of the North Island, initially around the Waitakere Coast but now known as far north as Hokianga and possibly as far south as Wanganui. This rush appears to be Australian, although as yet not one has determined which species it is. It is widely known as J. aff. caespiticius or J. aff. dregeanus.
September - January
Main Flower Colour
Other Flower Colour
October - July
Easily grown from fresh seed. An interesting pot plant or species for a damp place within a rockery. Has considerable horticultural potential.
Not Threatened but now declining or extinct north of the Waikato.
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
References and further reading
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
This page last updated on 30 May 2015