Juncus australis


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 Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Juncus australis Hook.f.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Rushes and Allied Plants




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 distrubed 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.

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.


September - December

Flower Colours



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.


Not Threatened

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Occasionally sold by specialist native plant nurseries


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (1 September 2006). Description based on Moore & Edgar (1970).

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