Giant rush, leafless rush
Juncus macrostigma Colenso
Vascular – Native
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.
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.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
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.
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
November - May
Mucilaginous seeds are dispersed by attachment, wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).
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.
juncus: From the Latin jungere ‘to tie or bind’, the stems of some species being used to make cord (Johnson and Smith)
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
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Juncus pallidus Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/juncus-pallidus/ (Date website was queried)