Well; ‘all the proof is in the flower’ of course but you have to look close-up in order to see that as from a distance they will look similar!
Two beautiful illustrated websites are by Lizzie Harper and also see Wayne’s Word about Flower Terminology. A good flora is always helpful of course and you can find a recommended book list and links in my previous post on Cyperaceae. A website I often use, if you are regularly following my blog, is the Leicestershire and Rutland based Naturespot. This is a most useful, descriptive and active site showing many good photographs!
As I did in previous post I will just list the most common species in the B.I. on the next page. This can be found through the distribution maps in the back of Collins pocket guide in Grasses, Sedges, Rushes & Ferns of Britain and Northern Europe .
These maps are a useful feature as most plants used by us in one form or the other would mostly be the common species anyway!
Rare species are not going to be used as food, medicine or building materials. Although saying this: they would have probably been collected and used as an ornamental plant by the Victorians, who loved unusual varieties such as can be found in the ferns for example.
But in the present day collecting of wild plants is a taboo! And of course which were common wild flowers then could now be very rare!
I will also be using my own Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country from now on for all my future posts and why didn’t I think of this before? This is a most beautiful piece of work and I recommend if you live in this area to get your own copy!
I use colour coding for easy reading! Blue background is general interesting info (although I hope you find it all interesting!!). Green is about all the uses except for medicinal uses or if there is a warning in which case I use a pink background. Pictures with gratitude by Mike Poulton unless stated.
First of all
the genus Juncus
with 30 species listed in Stace.
There are 11 species described in the Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country:
The cultivar Blue Arrows is offered in U.S.A.
This grows very easily on poorly drained fields and can become a problem as its unpalatability to livestock.
The provides wildfowl, wader feeding, and nesting habitats, and also habitats for small mammals. The root stalks are eaten by muskrats, and birds take shelter amongst the plant’s stems. A number of invertebrates feed on soft rush, including the rufous minor moth and larvae of Coleophora caespitiella.
In Europe, this rush was once used to make rushlights (by soaking the pith in grease), a cheap alternative to candles.
It is one of the seven ingredients of Hui sup tea. In Japan, this rush is called igusa, and grown to be woven into the covering of tatami mats. In Iran and Afghanistan too it is used to weave light cheap mats.
It is used in the treatment of sore throats, jaundice, oedema, acute urinary tract infection and morbid crying of babies!
The cultivar Juncus effusus ‘Spiralis’ with the common names corkscrew rush or spiral rush, is a distinctive potted and water garden plant due to its very curled spiral like stems.
Closely related to J. effusus. The stems are used in basket making, thatching, weaving mats.
As the name suggests, the plant has notable sharp-looking flowers, flowering between July and September.
Transverse internal partitions or joints may be seen or felt in the leaf of the plant.
Luzula or Wood-rushes
has 9 species only according to Stace.
There are 5 species described in the Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country:
The four most common ones are:
This species of Luzula is found on all types of native grasslands, and cultivated areas such as lawns, golf-course greens and fields.
preferring more acidic soils and more shaded places than L. campestris.
Luzula sylvatica is commonly used in horticulture — its thick, patch-forming habit (which allows the plant to act as a weed suppressant),hardiness, as well as the ability to grow in shade and damp soils being particular boons; it is commonly used for ground cover and/or as an ornamental grass.
- L. forsteri or Southern Wood-rush was last recorded in 1993 in Birmingham and the Black Country, being at its most northerly growing range. It has not been spotted in recent surveys.