categoryZGrasses Grasses List 

GREAT WOOD-RUSH

Luzula sylvatica

Rushes Family [Juncaceae]

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category
category8Grasses
 
status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8brown
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ6
(3+3)
stem
stem8round
 

10th April 2015, Mill Gill, Askrigg, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
Young plants, robust but not yet tall.


10th April 2015, Mill Gill, Askrigg, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
Wider at the ground than any other Wood-rush.


10th April 2015, Mill Gill, Askrigg, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
Numerous florets, but none open as yet.


10th April 2015, Mill Gill, Askrigg, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
Has brownish sheaths/bracts at flower stem junctions.


20th May 2013, Rocher Wood, High Bradfield, Outskirts of Sheffield. Photo: © RWD
The UK's largest Wood-rush by a long chalk, up to 80cm high.


20th May 2013, Rocher Wood, High Bradfield, Outskirts of Sheffield. Photo: © RWD
Forms spreading densely-tufted clumps of plants.


2nd April 2014, Yarrow Valley Country Park, Adlington, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A clump in the process of formation. Flat, glossy linear, tapering leaves up to 20mm wide and 10-30cm long. A single flowering stalk rises well above the height of the leaves. Near the top fifth the stalk forks multiple times forming an well-branched open cluster of flowers.


16th May 2013, Tockholes Plantation, Darwin, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Multiply-forked branched-clusters of flowers in open panicles.


2nd April 2014, Yarrow Valley Country Park, Adlington, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
These specimens are not as branched as the others. Both open and lax clusters of flowers can be found on differing plants.


16th May 2013, Tockholes Plantation, Darwin, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Just a single cluster shown here. The flowers have 3 brown sepals and 3 similarly-shaped brown petals (tepals) of flowers with six long cream-coloured anthers protruding.


10th May 2013, Walls Plantation, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Each flower also has a single style which branches near the top into three stigmas above the anthers.


2nd April 2014, Yarrow Valley Country Park, Adlington, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
As-yet unopened flowers which are in groups of mainly 2, but up to 3-5.


2nd April 2014, Yarrow Valley Country Park, Adlington, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
It seems that most Wood-rushes have long white hairs on some of the stems.


2nd April 2014, Yarrow Valley Country Park, Adlington, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flowers.


10th May 2013, Walls Plantation, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Opened flowers.


20th May 2013, Rocher Wood, High Bradfield, Outskirts of Sheffield. Photo: © RWD
Six brown 'petals' six pollen-covered anthers, a long thin style coming from the still-green ovary and splitting into three stigmas.


2nd April 2014, Yarrow Valley Country Park, Adlington, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Lower down the main stem. Sporadic long white hairs protruding.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The tallest by far with the most-branched inflorescence of all UK Wood-rushes.

Can be mistaken for White Wood-rush (Luzula luzuloides) and for the non-native garden grass Snowy-white Wood-rush (Luzula nivea).

Many species of Wood-rush are distinguished mainly by the shape, size and details of their fruits. They are in the same Juncaceae family as the Rushes (Juncus)

It grows in woods by shaded, or densely shaded, streams or even in open ground on rocky ledges or peaty or heather moorland. Its occurrence is almost ubiquitous throughout much of the UK but seemingly preferring to avoid large tracts of Norfolk, Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and several central England areas. Where it does occur, it is usually locally common, occurring in large rafts. It spreads by underground rhizomes. Growing mainly on acidic soils it can also tolerate neutral or slightly alkaline soils. It can be planted in damp shady gardens as ground-cover where other plants may struggle.


  Luzula sylvatica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Juncaceae  

Distribution
 family8Rushes family8Juncaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Luzula
Luzula
(Wood-Rushes)

GREAT WOOD-RUSH

Luzula sylvatica

Rushes Family [Juncaceae]