Vascular – Exotic
Rushes & Allied Plants
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.
Upright spiny rush to 1 m tall, with tall cylindrical sharp tipped, stems and leaves forming dense stiff clumps, with clumped flowerheads near the end of each stem, made up of many red-brown to orange flowers/capsules (fruit).
Scattered, but locally abundant in Northland, Auckland, Manawatu and Wellington, mostly coastal.
Wet and seasonally dry sandy areas
Wetland plant indicator status rating
FACW: Facultative Wetland
Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands (non-wetlands).
Very stout, forming dense prickly tufts; rhizomes stout, woody. Stems (40–)60–100 cm × 1.5–5 mm, very stiff and erect, smooth, light green. Basal sheaths shining dark red-brown. Leaves 1–2, basal, terete, similar to stem, with very pungent tip. Inflorescence large, compact 5–15 cm long. Flowers crowded. Tepals c. 3 mm long, ± equal, very hard, outer mucronate, inner truncate to emarginate with wide membranous margin at tip. Stamens 6. Capsule 4.5–5 mm long, much > tepals, ovoid, abruptly tapered, acute, reddish-brown to brownish-orange. Seeds with distinct tails.
No other rush has a combination of leaves similar to the stem, sharp pointed and large (> 4 mm) red-brown to orange capsules in a dense clustered head.
Perennial. Seed dispersed by animals, water or contaminated machinery.
Europe, Africa, North and South America
Reason for introduction
Unknown, seed or soil contaminant.
Can be controlled manually, mechanically or herbicidally depending on situation.
juncus: From the Latin jungere ‘to tie or bind’, the stems of some species being used to make cord (Johnson and Smith)
Notes on taxonomy
Subgenus Juncus, Section Juncus(Thalasii) Kirschner (2002: Juncaceae 2)
Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA). Features description from Healy and Edgar (1980).
References and further reading
Champion, P. et al. 2020. Freshwater Invasive Species of New Zealand 2020. NIWA publication. https://docs.niwa.co.nz/library/public/FreInSpec.pdf
Healy, A. J. 1982. Identification of weeds and clovers. New Zealand Weed and Pest Control Society Publication. Editorial Services Limited, Featherston. 299 p.
Healy, A. J.; Edgar, E. 1980. Flora of New Zealand, Volume III. Adventive Cyperaceous, Petalous and Spathaceous Monocotyledons. Government Printer, Wellington. 220 p.
Johnson, A. T.; Smith, H. A. 1986. Plant Names Simplified: Their pronunciation, derivation and meaning. Landsman Bookshop Ltd, Buckenhill, UK.
Johnson, P. N.; Brooke, P. A. 1989. Wetland plants in New Zealand. DSIR Field Guide, DSIR Publishing, Wellington. 319 p.
Kirschner, J. (compiler) 2002. Juncaceae 2: Juncus subg. Juncus, Species Plantarum: Flora of the World Part 7: 1–336.