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Great Woodrush

Luzula sylvatica

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Plant Profile

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

Brown, 6 petals
Reddish-brown flowers on wide-spreading forked clusters.
A 3 valved capsule, containing 3 elongated seeds. The seeds have an appendage (a caruncle) which helps ants distribute them.
The bright green, simple, linear, flat, stiff, grass-like leaves are evergreen (overwintering). The leaf margins are covered in silvery hairs. The leaves are tussock-forming.
Other Names:
Great Wood Rush, Great Wood-rush, Greater Woodrush, Sharp-flowered Rush, Wood Rush.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Luzula sylvatica, commonly known as Wood rush, 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 60cm tall and is known for its basal leaves that are arranged in a rosette. The plant 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.


Great Woodrush (Luzula sylvatica) is a species of flowering plant in the family Juncaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, and has been introduced in North America as an ornamental plant.

The plant is a herbaceous perennial that can grow up to 60 cm tall and produces spikes of small, greenish-brown flowers in the spring and summer. Its leaves are narrow, bright green, and arranged in a basal rosette. The leaves are semi-evergreen, retaining some of their green color throughout the winter.

Great Woodrush is a hardy and low-maintenance plant, making it a popular choice for gardens and naturalized landscapes. It is particularly well-suited to shady areas and woodland gardens, as it thrives in moist soils and partial shade. It is also a good option for ground cover, as it spreads slowly and forms a dense mat of foliage.

One of the key benefits of Great Woodrush is its ability to provide year-round interest in the landscape. In the spring, its spikes of small, inconspicuous flowers are a subtle source of color. During the summer and fall, its bright green leaves provide a lush and vibrant backdrop for other plants in the garden. In the winter, its semi-evergreen leaves add texture and interest to the landscape when other plants are dormant.

Great Woodrush is a versatile and attractive plant that is well-suited to a variety of garden settings. It is easy to care for and provides year-round interest, making it an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels. Whether you're looking to add some greenery to a shady corner of your garden or to create a naturalistic landscape, Great Woodrush is an excellent option to consider.

Great Woodrush is also a valuable plant for wildlife, attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies, as well as providing habitat for a variety of small mammals, birds and insects. The plant's leaves and stems also serve as a source of food for many species, including deer and rabbits.

Another benefit of Great Woodrush is its resistance to disease and pests. This hardy plant is generally disease-free and is not known to be bothered by any significant pests. This means that once it is established, it requires very little maintenance, making it an ideal choice for busy gardeners.

In the wild, Great Woodrush is commonly found in moist woodlands, meadows and along streams and rivers. It is often associated with other woodland plants, such as ferns, wildflowers, and shrubs. In cultivation, it can be planted in large drifts or used as an accent plant among other woodland species.

When it comes to growing Great Woodrush, it is best to plant it in well-drained soil that is consistently moist. It prefers partial shade, but will tolerate full sun if the soil is kept moist. It can be propagated easily from seed or division, making it an economical choice for gardeners on a budget.

Great Woodrush is a highly versatile and attractive plant that offers a wealth of benefits to gardeners and wildlife alike. Whether you are looking to create a naturalistic landscape, provide habitat for wildlife, or simply add some greenery to your garden, Great Woodrush is definitely worth considering.

Another interesting aspect of Great Woodrush is its cultural and historical significance. In many cultures, it has been used for a variety of purposes, including as a source of food and medicine. The plant's leaves and stems were often cooked and consumed as a vegetable, while its roots were used to treat a range of ailments, including digestive problems, skin infections, and respiratory issues.

In folklore, Great Woodrush was believed to have magical properties and was used in a variety of rituals and ceremonies. For example, in some cultures, it was believed that carrying a sprig of the plant could ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. In others, it was used in divination rituals, with the movements of the plant's leaves and stems interpreted to predict the future.

Despite its cultural and historical significance, Great Woodrush is not widely known or widely grown, making it a bit of a hidden gem in the plant world. Gardeners looking for a unique and interesting plant to add to their collection will certainly appreciate its beauty and versatility.

In conclusion, Great Woodrush is an attractive, hardy, and culturally significant plant that offers a wealth of benefits to gardeners and wildlife alike. Whether you are looking to create a naturalistic landscape, provide habitat for wildlife, or simply add some greenery to your garden, Great Woodrush is definitely worth considering. With its ease of care and its year-round interest, it is sure to be a valuable addition to any garden.


Great Woodrush filmed in the Wigan area on the 3rd April 2022.


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