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Snowy Woodrush

Luzula nivea

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Juncaceae (Rush)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Bogs, gardens, riverbanks, riversides, waterside, wetland, woodland.

White, 6 petals
The inflorescence consists of open-branched clusters of flowers. Each cluster contains between 2 and 8 stalkless flowers. The flowers are pure white. Similar to White Woodrush (Luzula luzuloides) but its flowers are off-white.
The fruit is a brown, 3-parted nutlet.
A clump-forming, grass-like plant with dark green, narrow, flat, hairy leaves. Garden escape species which can sometimes become invasive when naturalised. Evergreen perennial.
Other Names:
Lesser Woodrush, Snow Rush, Snow-white Wood-rush.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Luzula nivea, commonly known as snow rush or snowy woodrush, is a species of perennial herb in the Juncaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, typically found in damp, shady areas such as woods, bogs, and along streams and rivers. It has small, greenish-brown flowers that bloom in the spring and summer, and glossy, dark green leaves. It is a small plant that can grow up to 30cm tall and is known for its basal leaves that are arranged in a rosette. It is also used as an ornamental plant in gardens, and it is known for its ability to thrive in damp and shady areas. It is also used in traditional medicine, but there is not enough scientific evidence to support its medicinal properties. The plant is named for the whitish appearance of its leaves and stems, which give it a resemblance to snow.


Snowy Woodrush, also known by its scientific name Luzula nivea, is a species of flowering plant found in northern hemisphere regions. It is a member of the Juncaceae family and is a clump-forming herb that grows in damp, shady areas such as woodland clearings, riverbanks, and boggy meadows.

The plant has a distinctive appearance, with leaves that are green and glossy on the upper surface and pale underneath. The leaves grow up to 10 cm long and are arranged in a rosette at the base of the plant. The flowers of the Snowy Woodrush are small and insignificant, growing in spikes on slender stems that can reach up to 30 cm tall. The flowers are usually greenish-brown and have six petals, and they appear in early summer.

Snowy Woodrush is a valuable plant for wildlife, as it provides food and habitat for a variety of species, including insects and small mammals. The leaves of the plant are an important food source for caterpillars, and the flowers are visited by bees and other pollinators. The plant also provides cover and nesting sites for small mammals such as voles and shrews.

In gardens, Snowy Woodrush can be used as a groundcover plant in shady areas, as it is a hardy species that is easy to grow and care for. It can also be used as an edging plant for borders and woodland gardens, where it can be planted in masses for an attractive and natural-looking display.

Snowy Woodrush is a versatile and attractive plant that is not only an important species for wildlife but can also be used in gardens to provide an attractive and natural-looking display. It is a hardy species that is easy to grow and care for, making it a valuable addition to any garden.

In addition to its ornamental and wildlife value, Snowy Woodrush has a number of medicinal uses. It has been used in traditional medicine for its diuretic and antiphlogistic properties. The plant has been used to treat various ailments, including urinary tract infections, rheumatism, and skin problems. It is also believed to have mild sedative effects, making it useful for treating anxiety and insomnia.

Snowy Woodrush is also a popular ingredient in traditional Nordic cuisine, where the leaves and stems of the plant are used to add flavor to soups and stews. The plant has a distinctive, nutty flavor that is similar to that of wild asparagus. It is also used to make a traditional Finnish dish called "luzulakeitto," which is a soup made from the leaves and stems of the Snowy Woodrush.

Snowy Woodrush is a resilient and adaptable species that can grow in a variety of soil types and conditions, although it prefers moist and shady conditions. It is also resistant to deer and other herbivores, making it a good choice for gardens where deer are a problem.

Snowy Woodrush is not only an attractive and valuable plant for wildlife, but it also has a number of medicinal, culinary, and ornamental uses. It is a hardy and adaptable species that is easy to grow and care for, making it a valuable addition to any garden or landscape.

One of the most notable characteristics of Snowy Woodrush is its ability to tolerate and even thrive in harsh conditions. This makes it an excellent plant for use in difficult growing environments such as damp or shady areas, or areas prone to flooding. The plant is able to tolerate periods of drought, as well as heavy rainfall, due to its deep roots, which help to anchor it in place and access water and nutrients even in adverse conditions.

Snowy Woodrush is a slow-growing plant that spreads gradually over time, making it an ideal choice for groundcover in woodland or naturalistic gardens. It can also be used as an accent plant in mixed borders, where its soft, flowing foliage can provide a graceful contrast to more structured or upright plants.

In addition to its ornamental and wildlife value, Snowy Woodrush is also a valuable plant for erosion control, as it helps to stabilize soil and prevent the erosion of banks and slopes. It is also an important plant for soil improvement, as it can help to improve soil structure and fertility, and reduce soil compaction.

Another interesting aspect of Snowy Woodrush is its cultural significance. The plant has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, including in folklore and legends, where it has been associated with protection, healing, and fertility. In some cultures, the plant is believed to have supernatural powers, and is used in traditional remedies to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.

In conclusion, Snowy Woodrush is a versatile and valuable plant that is not only attractive and easy to grow, but it also has a range of practical uses, such as erosion control, soil improvement, and wildlife habitat. Its ability to tolerate harsh conditions and its cultural significance make it a plant that is well worth considering for inclusion in any garden or landscape.