Luzula luzuloides (Oak Forest Woodrush)
|Also known as:
|part shade, shade, sun; disturbed soil; woods, forest edges, fields, lawns
|June - July
|16 to 28 inches
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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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.
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:
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
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.
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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- Oak Forest Woodrush plant
- Oak Forest Woodrush plants
- Oak Forest Woodrush plants
- plants create leafy stands
- budding plant in early June
- flowering in late June
- fruiting plant in mid August, most fruits already gone
Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Hunter's Hill in Duluth.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?