broom rush, fan-flowered rush
None (first described in 1963)
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, Chatham and Campbell Islands. Also in Australia
Coastal to lowland in damp, open ground. Often in pasture or on the margins of coastal wetlands, and along river flats. Sometimes a troublesome weed.
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).
Densely tufted, tussock-forming, dull blue-green perennial herb. Stems tightly clumped and erect near base, usually drooping in upper half to one third. Rhizome stout, 5-10 mm diameter, horizontal. Flowering stems 1-2 m tall, 2-3 mm diameter, numerous, pliant though wiry, basally very hard, ridged, not shining; internal pith cobwebby, irregularly interrupted, rarely continuous. Leaves absent, Basal bracts basally black, otherwise dark red-purple, closely sheathing the stem, the uppermost bract usually straw-coloured and up to 250 mm long. Inflorescence lateral, many-flowered, very pale brown or cream, massed together as a dense fan-shaped head of flowers; flowers closely spaced along the numerous, stiffly erect to spreading branchlets which are pressed up hard against the very long subtending floral bract; bract overtopping flower, sometimes up to 300 mm long; flowers 2 mm long, tepals white and membranous, centrally striped green, later straw-coloured and more rigid. Stamens 3(-6). Capsule from slightly > 1.5 mm to slightly > 2 mm long, equal to or slightly > tepals, narrow, ovate-oblong, obtuse, very pale brown.
Easily distinguished by the combination of the dense, tussock forming habit, blue-green, wiry, drooping stems, and compact, many-flowered, fan-shaped inflorescences. Most similar to J. inflexus L. which is a naturalised species differing from J. sarophorus by the diffuse rather than dense fan-shaped inflorescence; by the inflorescence not firmly appressed to the subtending bract; and dark purple-brown rather than light-brown capsules 2.5-3.5 rather than 1.5-2.0 mm long.
September - January
October - May
Mucilaginous seeds are dispersed by attachment, wind and water (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easy from fresh seed and the division of whole plants. Can be invasive, and one of the few indigenous species that can be 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)
sarophorus: (As in Juncus sarophorus) meaning ‘broom bearing’, from Greek saron brush, broom (from sairein to sweep); -phorus = bearing, carrying
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 sarophorus Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/juncus-sarophorus/ (Date website was queried)