Juncus planifolius var. chathamicus Buch.
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 threat classification 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) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website 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. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
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.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACW: Facultative Wetland
Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands (non-wetlands).
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.
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
October - June
Mucilaginous seeds are dispersed by attachment, wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easy from fresh seed. Inclined to be invasive, and indeed occasionally seen as an urban weed of roadside blocked gutters.
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
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Juncus planifolius Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/juncus-planifolius/ (Date website was queried)