Luzula multiflora (Ehrh.) Lej.

common wood rush

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Common wood rush has a circumboreal distribution, and is native to North America. There are two subspecies in New England, one of which (Luzula multiflora ssp. frigida) has a much more northerly distribution than the other, and is absent from southern New England.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges, forests, meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Stem shape in cross-section
the stem is round or oval in cross-section
Leaf blade width
2–6 mm
Leaf blade cross-section
the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
Inflorescence position
the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
Inflorescence branching
the inflorescence is branched
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is a capsule, with at least three seeds in it
Fruit length
1.9–2.3 mm
Leaf position on plant
some leaf attachment points are above the midpoint of the stem
Perianth composition
the perianth is green or brown, with six sepal-like parts, and a leafy texture
Fruit cross-section
the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther color (dry)
    the anthers range in color from white to tan or yellow to yellow-brown
    Floral bristle color
    NA
    Floral bristle number
    NA
    Floral bristle relative length
    NA
    Floral bristles
    NA
    Floral scale hairs
    NA
    Floral scale length
    0 mm
    Floral scale nerves
    NA
    Flower number per cluster
    5-20
    Inflorescence bract angle
    the bracts are vertical or angled only slightly outwards
    Inflorescence bract number
    there are two to five bracts per inflorescence
    Inflorescence bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Inflorescence bracts
    there are at least two bracts, and they are either flat or folded or rolled in at the edges
    Inflorescence branching
    the inflorescence is branched
    Inflorescence crowding
    the inflorescence is at least somewhat spread out, with at least one branch coming from the main stem
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
    Inflorescence shape
    the aggregations within the inflorescence are roughly circular (not flattened) in cross-section
    Inflorescence type
    there are two or more flowers, spikes or flower clusters on a branched inflorescence
    Perianth composition
    the perianth is green or brown, with six sepal-like parts, and a leafy texture
    Stamen length
    0.9–1.7 mm
    Stamen number
    4-6
    Stigma number
    3
    Style division
    the top two thirds of the style is divided
    floral bristle barbs
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene beak length
    0 mm
    Achene surface texture
    NA
    Achene tubercle relative width
    NA
    Achene tubercle width
    0 mm
    Capsule relative length
    • the capsule is about equal to the perianth
    • the capsule is shorter than the perianth
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
    Fruit length
    1.9–2.3 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is a capsule, with at least three seeds in it
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Locules in capsule
    the capsule has one locule
    Seed length
    0.6–0.9 mm
    Seed tail relative length
    1.1–1.7 mm
    Seed tails
    there is no tail on the seeds
    Tubercle height
    0 mm
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Rhizome thickness
    2–4 mm
    Underground organs
    • the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Auricle length
    0 mm
    Auricle texture
    NA
    Auricles
    there are no auricles on the leaf sheath
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
    Leaf blade length
    35–120 mm
    Leaf blade width
    2–6 mm
    Leaf form
    all the leaves hold their form out of water
    Leaf position on plant
    some leaf attachment points are above the midpoint of the stem
    Leaf septa
    the leaf blades do not have transverse septa
    Leaf sheath hairs
    the leaf sheathes have hairs on them
    Pedicel length (Typha)
    0 mm
    Stem leaf blade ligules
    there are no ligules at the leaf blade bases
    Stem leaf blades
    there are fully-developed leaves with leaf blades on the main stem
    Width of seed-producing inflorescence
    10–50 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    10–40 cm
    Stem shape in cross-section
    the stem is round or oval in cross-section
    Stem thickness at midpoint
    0.5–1 mm

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. frigida

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)
New Hampshire
unrankable (S-rank: SU), Ind (code: Ind)

ssp. multiflora

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. multiflora

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Luzula bulbosa:
plants with bulblets formed from pale, swollen leaf bases and caruncle of seed 0.5-0.7 mm long (vs. L. multiflora, with plants lacking bulbets and caruncle of seed 0.2-0.6 mm long).
Luzula echinata:
leaves with a minute point at the tip, the calloused apex narrow and obscure and anthers 2-4 times as long as the associated filaments (vs. L. multiflora, with leaves with a blunt, rounded tip, the calloused apex evident and anthers up to 2 times as long as the associated filaments).

Synonyms

  • Luzula campestris var. multiflora (Ehrh.) Celak.

Family

Juncaceae

Genus

Luzula

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Luzula multiflora (Ehrh.) Lej. ssp. multiflora is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT.L. multiflora ssp. frigida (Buch.) Krecz. is known from MA, ME, NH, VT.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

7.  Luzula multiflora (Ehrh.) Lej. N

common wood rush.  7a. Luzula campestris (L.) DC. var. multiflora (Ehrh.) Čelak.;  
7b. Juncoides intermedium (Thuill.) Rydb.; Luzula campestris (L.) DC. var. frigida Buch.; 
 L. frigida (Buch.) Samuelsson; L. intermedia (Thuill.) A. Nels.; L. multiflora (Ehrh.) Lej. 
var. fusconigra Čelak. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Lawns, fields, forests, forest openings and edges.

1a.  Tepals pale brown to brown near the center, all pointed at the apex; capsules light brown to brown; caruncle of seeds 0.3–0.6 mm long … 7a. L. multiflora ssp. multiflora

1b.  Tepals dark brown near the center, the outer pointed, the inner truncate-mucronate; capsules dark brown to nearly black; caruncle of seeds 0.2–0.3 mm long 
 … 7b. L. multiflora ssp. frigida (Buch.) Krecz.

Subspecies multiflora is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Subspecies frigida is known from 
 MA, ME, NH, VT.