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Moor Rush (Juncus stygius)


Life history

Species overview

Moor Rush (Juncus stygius), a State Endangered plant, is found in cold fens. Blooming occurs late June through early July; fruiting occurs throughout July. The optimal identification period for this species is early July.

Synonyms: Juncus stygius ssp. americanus, Juncus stygius var. americanus

Identification

  • Distinguishing characteristics: Seeds 2 to 3 mm with pale tails or appendages at both ends; 6 stamens; leaves very slender.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence of 1 to 3 compact heads, each 1- to 4-flowered, 1 cm; petals wide and obtuse; stamens 6; anthers much shorter than the filaments.
  • Fruit characteristics: Ellipsoid, 6 to 8.5 mm, conspicuously tipped with a short, sharp, abrupt point; seeds 2 to 3 mm, with a thick pale appendage (or tail) at each end about as long as the body.
  • Leaf characteristics: Basal leaves 1 to 3, or one cauline leaf above the middle; blades very narrow, sheaths firm, usually with slightly prolonged ear-shaped appendages.

Phenology

  • Blooming phenology: late June through early July
  • Fruiting phenology: throughout July
  • Optimum time to identify: early July

Other

  • Growth form: Graminoid
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Carex livida, Scirpus hudsonianus, Xyris montana, Arethusa bulbosa, Rhynchospora fusca, Utricularia cornuta, Triglochin maritimum, Calopogon tuberosus.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Moor Rush (Juncus stygius). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.


Documented locations of Juncus stygius in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of March 2012.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in cold fens.
  • Soils: Wet soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Moor Rush. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Boreal Rich Fen 2
Poor Fen 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Moor Rush. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Moor Rush (Juncus stygius) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Avoid rapid and dramatic reductions in canopy cover or basal area in wet areas to reduce risk of swamping.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
  • Survey for and control invasive plants prior to conducting timber operations, as these can be spread by vehicles and often respond vigorously to increased light; see forestry BMPs for invasive species.
  • This species is likely sensitive to water quality. Following BMPs around streams and buffering associated drainages will reduce eutrophication and prevent water quality degradation.

Photos


Moor Rush  [Photo #1327]

Photo © Stephen L. Solheim.

Moor Rush  [Photo #23476]

Photo ©  Wisconsin DNR.


Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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