Juncus planifolius


Juncus: From the Latin jungere 'to tie or bind', the stems of some species being used to make cord (Johnson and Smith)
planifolius: From the Latin planum 'flat surface' and folius 'leaf, meaning a flat leaf

Common Name(s)

grass-leaved 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 planifolius 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 planifolius var. chathamicus Buch.


Indigenous. North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. Also Australia, Hawaii and South America.


Coastal to montane (up to 1000 m a.s.l.) in open, moist ground. Often found on fresh exposed damp clay, or along track sides or on the margins of drains. A common urban weed which has naturalised in the northern Hemisphere.


Bright green, yellow-green to wine-red, tufted, grass-like perennial herb of rather variable stature. Stems 20.0-900.0 x 0.5-1.5 mm. Leaves numerous, all basal, up to 100 mm x 8 mm, usually less than stem, solid, flat, non-septate, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, tapered gradually from base to the slightly dilated, acute, usually mucronate apex; sheaths broad without auricles, mostly pink-coloured, rarely cream. Inflorescence terminal, umbel-like and irregularly branched. Flowers numerous, 1.5-2.0 mm long, crowded in globose or hemispherical clusters at the ends of the numerous branchlets; tepals more or less equal, the outer acuminate, inner acute, all with light green centres and red-brown to wine-red margins. Stamens 3(-6). Capsule equal to or very slightly > tepals, lustrous brown to brownish-black, ovoid, mucronate.

Similar Taxa

Easily recognised by the usually many-flowered, umbel-like inflorescence and flat leaves; flower clusters up to 5 mm diameter and 2 mm long capsules. In a sterile state it could be mistaken for Luzula (wood rushes) but the leaves lack the characteristic sparse to densely villous margins typical of that genus. Juncus planifolius has a superficial similarity to J. caespiticius E.Meyer in Lehm., with which it occasionally grows. It differs from that species by its flat, not channelled leaves, and open umbellate rather than compact globose inflorescence. The flower heads of J. planifolius are often proliferous or infected by the powdery grey or bluish smut (Sorosporium piluliformis (Berkeley) McAlpine).


August - April

Flower Colours

Green,Red / Pink


October - June

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. Inclined to be invasive, and indeed occasionally seen as an urban weed of roadside blocked gutters.


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

Not commercially available



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