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Southern Woodrush

Luzula forsteri

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

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

Brown, 6 petals
Dark brown flowers in forked clusters. The stalks of the flowers are of unequal lengths. Similar in appearance to Hairy Woodrush (Luzula pilosa) but the flower stalks are more erect.
A yellowish-green, 3-parted nutlet, narrowing into a short beak at the end. The beaks of Hairy Woodrush taper more abruptly.
A tufted, grass-like perennial similar to Hairy Woodrush but with narrower leaves.
Other Names:
Forster's Jonquil, Forster's Woodrush.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Luzula forsteri, commonly known as Forster's woodrush or Forster's jonquil, is a species of perennial herb in the Juncaceae family. It is native to Europe, 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 30 cm 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 after Johann Reinhold Forster, a naturalist and botanist who accompanied Captain James Cook on his second voyage of exploration.


Southern Woodrush (Luzula forsteri) is a species of rush plant native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. This plant belongs to the family Juncaceae and is a herbaceous perennial that grows in a variety of habitats including grasslands, meadows, and rocky places.

Southern Woodrush has a distinctive appearance with its bright green, narrow leaves and delicate, slender stems that can reach up to 40 cm in height. The leaves are typically around 20 cm long and 2 cm wide, and they have a glossy appearance due to their smooth surface.

The plant produces small, yellow-green flowers in clusters that are surrounded by brown, papery bracts. These flowers appear in the spring and summer and are an important source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

Southern Woodrush is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of growing conditions, including poor soil quality and drought. It is also resistant to grazing, making it an ideal choice for landscaping or as a component of meadow gardens.

In terms of its ecological importance, Southern Woodrush is an important species for many wildlife species. For example, its seeds are a food source for birds and small mammals, and its dense leaves provide cover and habitat for insects and other invertebrates.

Southern Woodrush (Luzula forsteri) is a versatile and attractive plant that offers many benefits for both wildlife and people. Whether you are a gardener or an ecologist, this species is definitely worth considering for your next project.

Southern Woodrush is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In some cultures, the plant has been used as a remedy for digestive issues, as a diuretic, and as a treatment for respiratory problems.

Southern Woodrush is also used in landscaping and horticulture due to its attractive foliage and delicate flowers. This plant is ideal for planting in woodland gardens, rock gardens, and meadows. It is a low-maintenance plant that requires little care and can thrive in a range of soil types and light conditions.

Another benefit of Southern Woodrush is its versatility in the garden. It can be used as a ground cover, planted in mass for a striking display, or used as a filler plant between other shrubs and trees. It also blends well with other plants in a meadow garden, such as wildflowers, grasses, and ferns.

In terms of conservation, Southern Woodrush is considered to be a species of least concern, with a stable population and widespread distribution. However, as with many wild species, Southern Woodrush can be threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to human activities such as land development and intensive agriculture.

Overall, Southern Woodrush is a valuable plant that provides a range of benefits for both the environment and people. Whether you are looking for a low-maintenance plant for your garden or you are interested in conserving wild species, this plant is a great choice.

Southern Woodrush is also known for its ability to attract a range of wildlife to the garden. Its nectar-rich flowers provide a food source for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, and its seeds are a food source for birds and small mammals. This plant is also a host plant for various species of moths, providing food and shelter for their caterpillars.

Southern Woodrush is also an important plant for soil conservation and erosion control. Its deep roots and dense foliage help to stabilize soil and reduce the risk of soil erosion, making it an ideal plant for planting on slopes and banks. This plant is also able to grow in compacted or disturbed soil, making it a good choice for rehabilitation of damaged or degraded sites.

When planting Southern Woodrush, it is important to consider its growing requirements. This plant prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade. It can also tolerate some drought once established, but it is important to keep the soil moist during dry periods to promote healthy growth.

Southern Woodrush is easy to propagate and can be grown from seed or by division. When growing from seed, it is best to sow the seeds in the autumn or spring and cover with a thin layer of soil. The seeds will usually germinate within a few weeks and the young plants can be transplanted to their final growing position once they are established.

In conclusion, Southern Woodrush (Luzula forsteri) is a versatile and attractive plant that provides a range of benefits for both the environment and people. With its bright green foliage, delicate flowers, and ability to attract wildlife, this plant is a great addition to any garden or landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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