Juncus capillaceus Hook.f.
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.
2018 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO, Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. North and South Islands from Bay of Plenty south.
Open, swampy ground, in cushion bogs and alongside tarn, lake and river margins. Coastal to alpine. Often associated with Juncus novae-zelandiae Hook.f.
Diminutive, delicate, red-brown to dark brown, perennial forming widely creeping tufted patches arising from an ascending rhizome 0.5 mm diameter. Stems 1-30 x 0.2-0.3 mm, leafy, creeping and rooting below, erect above. Leaves basal and cauline, usually > stems, up to 0.2 mm wide, filiform, striated, terete, septate; sheath membranous with two obtuse auricles. Inflorescence terminal, usually solitary flowered, rarely with 2-3 sessile flowers or comprised of two slender branches terminated by 2-3 flowers; subtending bract > inflorescence. Flowers 1.5-2.0 mm long, tepals equal, initially pale green, maturing reddish. Stamens 6, equal in length or > tepals. Capsule pale brown, slightly > tepals, narrowly ovoid, distinctly mucronate.
Most likely to be confused with J. scheuchzerioides Gaud. (with which it grows on the Auckland Islands) and J. novae-zelandiae Hook.f. From J. scheuchzerioides it differs by the terete rather than compressed red brown to brown rather than pale green, red-green to bright green leaves which are < rather than > 0.5 mm wide. Further it has flowers which are 1.5-3 rather than 4 mm long. From J. novae-zelandiae it differs by the light brown rather than lustrous black tipped mature capsules and stems which are less than the length of the leaves at maturity.
October - January
December - May
Mucilaginous seeds are dispersed by attachment, wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easy from fresh seed and the division of whole plants. Very small, and best kept in a pot partially submerged in water.
juncus: From the Latin jungere ‘to tie or bind’, the stems of some species being used to make cord (Johnson and Smith)
pusillus: Insignificant or weak
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 pusillus Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/juncus-pusillus/ (Date website was queried)