Luzula luzuloides (Oak Forest Woodrush)

Plant Info
Also known as: Lamarck's Woodrush
Genus:Luzula
Family:Juncaceae (Rush)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe
Habitat:part shade, shade, sun; disturbed soil; woods, forest edges, fields, lawns
Fruiting season:June - July
Plant height:16 to 28 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowering cluster] Open branching cluster at the top of the stem with clusters of 2 to 8 short-stalked flowers at each branchlet tip. Occasionally, a smaller branching cluster arises from the upper leaf axil. Branches and stalks are green and hairless, but each branch has a hairy sheath at the base. At the base of the inflorescence (group of clusters) is a pair of leaf-like bracts fringed with long, white hairs, the bracts about as long as or a little longer than the inflorescence.

[close-up of flowers] Flowers are about ¼ inch across with 6 tepals (petals and similar sepals). Tepals are initially erect becoming widely spreading at peak flowering, pale whitish to yellowish to pinkish, lance-elliptic tapering to a pointed tip, the 3 outer tepals 1.7 to 2.1 mm long ridged along the midrib, the inner 2.2 to 3 mm long lacking a ridge. In the center is a single long style with 3 feathery stigmas and 6 pale yellow-tipped stamens. At the base of a flower is a pair of scale-like bracts ¼ or less as long as the tepals.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are grass-like, basal and alternate, mostly arching, 6 to 12 inches long, up to about ¼ inch wide, pointed at the tip and stalkless. Leaves are toothless but variably edged in long, white hairs and sheath the stem

[photo of sheath] Sheaths are hairless except for long, white hairs around the tip edge. Stems are smooth, erect, unbranched, round to weakly angled in cross-section, and multiple from the base. Plants form loose to dense leafy clumps.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of mature panicle branches] Fruit is a 3-lobed, oval to round capsule 1.5 to 1.8 mm long, slightly shorter than the tepals, with an abrupt taper to a pointed tip, and ripening to maroon. Each capsule contains 3 seeds.

[photo of seed] Seeds are about 1 mm long, oval to egg-shaped, shiny dark olive to brown with a pale ridge-like structure along one side that is swollen towards the tip.

Notes:

Oak Forest Woodrush has only been collected from a forested natural area known as Hunter's Hill in Duluth. First collected in 1938 on a south-facing slope, it was recorded there again a few years later, then not again for nearly 60 years. We found it at the last recorded site, in small dense patches along a trail. It is apparently a persistent but not a fast-spreading species. In its native Europe, it is found in deciduous or mixed forest, pastures, and along forest paths.

It is recognized by the dense clump of hairy leaves, the open panicle of flowers or fruits clustered 2 to 8 at each branch tip, tepals that are pale whitish to pinkish when flowering and light brown to bleached beige in fruit, maroon capsules somewhat shorter than the tepals, and dark brown seeds with a pale ridge-like structure along one side. It is the tallest of the Luzula species known to be in Minnesota, and forms much denser, leafier clumps than the others. There are two recognized subspecies: subsp. rubella has copper colored tepals and is not known to be in North America; subsp. luzuloides has pale tepals and is the species found in Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Hunter's Hill in Duluth.

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