Juncus pallidus


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

Common Name(s)

giant rush, leafless rush

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 pallidus R.Br.



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


Juncus macrostigma Colenso


Indigenous. North, South, and Stewart Islands. Present in Australia and naturalised on Norfolk, Lord Howe and the Chatham Islands


Coastal to lowland. Often in pastures where it can be as major weed. Usually in damp swampy hollows, on the margins of wetlands and lakes, in open shrubland on damp ground, or near saltmarshes in places that can be flooded by King tides.


Very robust, tall perennial forming dense patches up to 2 m tall. Rhizome 5-10 mm diameter, horizontal. Flowering stems 1-2 m tall, 3-8 mm diameter, erect, very rarely drooping, smooth, slightly glossy, light green or glaucous, soft, pith continuous; leaves absent; basal sheathing bracts numerous, lower ones shorter, upper ones larger, loosely sheathing, very obtuse with a long, hair-like mucro, light green, light brown or pinkish brown, Inflorescence apparently lateral, many-flowered, usually contracted into a dense head > 15 mm wide, or effuse with long stout, rigid branchlets. Flowers 2.3-3.0 mm long, clustered at branchlet apices, or evenly spaced along branchlets, on stout pedicels or almost sessile; tepals pale green, occasionally tinged with pink, maturing light brown, the outer rigid, the inner soft and membranous, almost colourless. Stamens 6. Capsules 2.8-3.6 mm long, usually distinctly > tepals, ovoid-trigonous, obtuse at the apex, very pale greenish brown.

Similar Taxa

Can be confused with Juncus procerus E.Meyer which is also an extremel;y robust species of similar habitats. However, J. procerus usually has dark green stems and the internal pith is interrupted not continuous. Juncus pallidus keys out with the very different looking J. pauciflorus R.Br. because both species have 6 stamens and their stems continuous, uninterrupted internal pith. Juncus pauciflorus is a very uncommon species with very slender, wiry, rather lax bright green stems, and finer, flexible ratehr than rigidly stout branchlets.


October - January

Flower Colours



November - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of whole plants. An attractive, very robust species with beautiful blue-grey foliage. This species is sometimes a pasture weed.


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 available from retail plant and 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

This page last updated on 30 May 2015