Field wood-rush Luzula campestris
 
FamilyJuncaceae, Rush family
Perennial – c. 10 cm tall, c. 6 cm spread
Flowering – March to April
Soils -  Neutral
Sun – Full sun or partial shade
 
 
  
 
Also attractively called Good Friday grass from its flowering date, this elegant species can easily be identified by the long white cottony hairs along the edges of its leaves. In late March and early April the plants become conspicuous by virtue of the clusters of dark bronze florets made striking by their large yellow stamens. It was first recorded by Gerard in his Herbal of 1597.1.  Its many common names focus on the sooty coloured florets, names such as Chimney sweepers, sweeps,smuts, blackcaps and treacle-dabs. Cheshire children once greeted the plant in spring with the rhyme:
 
Chimney-sweeper all in black,
Go to the brook and wash your back;
Wash it clean or wash it none;
Chimney-sweeper are you done? 2.
 
The name Luzula most likely comes from the Italian word Lucciola meaning shining, while the specific epithet campestris means of the fields – most other species in the genus being woodland plants. This species prefers damp conditions, and is common throughout Britain. It not eaten by many insects, but those that do include the moths the smoky wainscot Mythimna impura, the double line Mythimna turca and the broad-bordered yellow underwing Noctua fimbriata, but none are confined to this species.
 
 
 
References
 
1.  Pearman, D. (2017). The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain and Ireland, A compilation of the first records for 1670 species and aggregates, covering Great Britain, Ireland, The Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland. p262
 
2.  Vickery, R. 2019. Vickery’s Folk Flora, An A to Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. London.p259
 
3.  UK moths website
 
 
Page written by Camilla Lambrick, compiled by Steve Head
The closely related great wood-rush Luzula sylvatica (left) is an attractive native species which is often offered for sale as a garden plant. It is a much taller (1m) woodland plant which favours neutral to acid soils from full shade to full sun.
 
 
 
The closely related great wood-rush Luzula sylvatica (left) is an attractive native species which is often offered for sale as a garden plant. It is a much taller (1m) woodland plant which favours neutral to acid soils from full shade to full sun.
 
 
 
References
 
1.  Pearman, D. (2017). The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain and Ireland, A compilation of the first records for 1670 species and aggregates, covering Great Britain, Ireland, The Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland. p262
 
2.  Vickery, R. 2019. Vickery’s Folk Flora, An A to Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. London.p259
 
3.  UK moths website
 
Page written by Camilla Lambrick, compiled by Steve Head
Field wood-rush Luzula campestris
 
FamilyJuncaceae, Rush family
Perennial – c. 10 cm tall, c. 6 cm spread
Flowering – March to April
Soils -  Neutral
Sun – Full sun or partial shade
 
 
  
 
Also attractively called Good Friday grass from its flowering date, this elegant species can easily be identified by the long white cottony hairs along the edges of its leaves. In late March and early April the plants become conspicuous by virtue of the clusters of dark bronze florets made striking by their large yellow stamens. It was first recorded by Gerard in his Herbal of 1597.1.  Its many common names focus on the sooty coloured florets, names such as Chimney sweepers, sweeps, smuts, blackcaps and treacle-dabs. Cheshire children once greeted the plant in spring with the rhyme:
 
Chimney-sweeper all in black,
Go to the brook and wash your back;
Wash it clean or wash it none;
Chimney-sweeper are you done? 2.
 
The name Luzula most likely comes from the Italian word Lucciola meaning shining, while the specific epithet campestris means of the fields – most other species in the genus being woodland plants. This species prefers damp conditions, and is common throughout Britain. It not eaten by many insects, but those that do include the moths the smoky wainscot Mythimna impura, the double line Mythimna turca and the broad-bordered yellow underwing Noctua fimbriata, but none are confined to this species.
 
 
 
       Garden Wildplants
             Garden Wildplants