FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Luzula confusa, Northern wood-rush

Luzula confusa; The Northern wood-rush is a bit of an enigmatic species on Iceland. Plants that are now considered to be member of this species were originally regarded to be Luzula arcuata. However, the differences are strong. The species is characterized by both a short-stalked central flower bunch and several short-stalked lateral flower bunches. In the latter it differs completely from L. arcuata which has several long stalked flower bunches and only the central flower bunch on a short stalk. This is not the end of the story: where L. confusa has several short-stalked flower bunches it also has one long-stalked flower bunch. This appears like a kind of "flag" in the inflorescence. I first found this species in 2016 on the high slopes at the Tungnafell glacier, central Iceland. A few plants there corresponded to what I new about this species: a small mountain plant. A few weeks later though, I found the species also near Norðurfjörður in western-fjord district, at sea level! Here it was considerably taller (>15 cm. to merely a few cm. in the highland plants). This is though, what one could expect. The point is that the species is not confined to highland regions. The north-western fjords district however, has longer winters and more snow than the southern regions of Iceland. The species has a circum-polar presence
The Northern wood-rush (Luzula confusa) is a member of the rush family (Juncaceae). The Icelandic name of this species is Fjallhæra.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


Size impression
Note, this is the same specimen as the opening photo

Lowland habitus
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Size impression
Note, this is the same specimen as the opening photo

Lowland habitus

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