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Luzula spicata (L.) DC.

Spiked Wood-rush

Habitat: Gravel talus and peaty openings in alpin areas. [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Circumboreal, south to the high mountains of New York and New England.

Aids to Identification: Spiked wood-rush grows in very dense, low tufts, up to 10-30 cm in height. There are many basal leaves and only 2 or 3 very narrow leaves on the stem. The flowers grow in small, dense clusters, with no flowering stalks, forming a spike 1-3 cm long. Fruits are purple-brown and the seeds have a short, rounded appendage. This species can be distinguished from another rare wood-rush, L. confusa, by the bracts that subtend the cluster of flowers. The bracts of L. spicata are much longer, projecting beyond the flowers.

Ecological characteristics: Known in Maine from alpine pondshores on Mt. Katahdin.

Phenology: Flowers June - August.

Family: Juncaceae

Synonyms: Referred to in some very old treatments as Juncoides spicatum (L.) Kuntze.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 1 town(s) in the following county(ies): Piscataquis.

Dates of documented observations are: 1856, 1860, 1898, 1900, 1936, 1978, 1988, 2000

Reason(s) for rarity: An arctic species, disjunct from principal range.

Conservation considerations: Populations could be threatened by heavy recreational (hiking) use.