Luzula sylvatica

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Luzula sylvatica
Luzula sylvatica0.jpg
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Juncaceae
Genus: Luzula
Species: L. sylvatica
Binomial name
Luzula sylvatica
(Huds.) Gaudin, 1762
Synonyms[2]
  • Juncoides sylvatica (Huds.) Druce
  • Juncus sylvaticus Huds.
  • Luzula haussknechtiana Freyn & Sint.

Luzula sylvatica, commonly known as greater wood-rush[3] or great wood-rush, is a perennial[4] plant in the genus Luzula.

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

With regards to the etymology of the binomial, Luzula could come from the Italian lucciola ("to shine, sparkle") or the Latin luzulae or luxulae, from lux ("light"), inspired by the way the plants sparkle when wet with dew;[5] whilst sylvatica comes from silva, Latin for forest.[6]

Description[edit]

Luzula sylvatica is the largest woodrush,[3][7] with stems 30–80 centimetres (12–31 in) high.[7] It forms clumps of bright green leaves which are glossy,[6] flat, linear,[8] about 10–30 centimetres (3.9–11.8 in) in length and 1 centimetre (0.39 in) wide;[3] its leaves remain green or at least greenish throughout winter.[3] The leaves can also help to differentiate the plant from similar-looking plants in the closely related Juncus genus, as scattered white hairs can be found along the leaf edges.[3] Its tepals are 3–3.5 millimetres (0.12–0.14 in), with flowers which grow in groups of 3 or 4.[3][7] From mid-spring to summer,[6] L. sylvatica produces flowers in open panicles[6] which are very small,[8] chestnut-brown in colour[3] and can be found in dense and lax clusters.[8] L. sylvatica is sometimes stoloniferous.[3]

Luzula sylvatica is both anemophilous and entomophilous, in that it can be pollinated by either wind or insect.[3] L. sylvatica's fruit is a 3-valved capsule containing three oblong seeds.[3] Each seed is indistinctly reticulate, often with a caruncle (a basal or apical appendage);[3] seeds tend to germinate close to their parent plant.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Luzula sylvatica has a wide distribution, and is native to Europe (the European temperate element of flora [9]) and southwest Asia[10] - including the British Isles where L. sylvatica populations are widespread stable, apart from a decline and in central and south east England.[9] There is one record of L. sylvatica from Washington State, United States of America.[3]

Usually growing in partial to full shade,[10] Luzula sylvatica tends to grow on acidic soils in damp habitats.[9] L. sylvatica can be found on stream banks and well-drained, open woodland,[3] as well as in open ground and rock ledges [7] and peaty heath moors.[6] Despite its preference for acidic soils, it can tolerate most soil pH levels.[6]

Ecology[edit]

The leaves of Luzula sylvatica are picked in winter by golden eagles to line their eyries.[7] The flowers and seeds of L. sylvatica are also the sole food source for the larvae of the Coleophora sylvaticella moth.[11]

Uses[edit]

Luzula sylvatica is commonly used in horticulture — its thick, patch-forming habit (which allows the plant to act as a weed suppressant),[12] hardiness,[4] as well as the ability to grow in shade and damp soils[4] being particular boons; L. sylvatica is commonly used for ground cover[12] and/or as an ornamental grass.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Species Status, The Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain". Joint Nature Conservation Committee. p. 70. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Luzula sylvatica (Huds.) Gaudin". GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Greater woodrush (Luzula sylvatica)". Devon wildlife species. Devon Wildlife Trust. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Luzula sylvatica". Gardener's World. BBC. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Luzula in Flora of North America". Flora of North America 22. eFloras.org. pp. 225–226. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Davis Landscape Architecture. "Plant of the Week: Luzula sylvatica". LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE BLOG. WordPress.com. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Luzula sylvatica". West Highland Flora. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "RHS Plant Selector Luzula sylvatica 'Marginata' (v)". Royal Horticultural Society. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Luzula sylvatica". Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Luzula sylvatica Greater woodrush". Hardy Plants for Waterwise Landscapes. Washington State University. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Wall, Mike. "Hants Moths - 0580 Coleophora sylvaticella". Hants Moths. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Plant Profile for Luzula sylvatica - Greater Wood Rush Perennial". Perennials.com. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.