Vascular – Native
Rushes and 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.
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2018 | At Risk – Declining
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
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, > 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
October - July
Mucilaginous seeds are dispersed by attachment, wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).
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.
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
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
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
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Juncus caespiticius Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/juncus-caespiticius/ (Date website was queried)