Colorado Woodrush

(Luzula subcapitata)



Luzula is a genus of flowering plants the family Juncaceae, the rushes. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution, with species occurring throughout the world, especially in temperate regions, the Arctic, and higher elevation areas in the tropics. Plants of the genus are known commonly as wood-rush, wood rush, or woodrush. Possible origins of the genus name include the Italian lucciola ("to shine, sparkle") or the Latin luzulae or luxulae, from lux ("light"), inspired by the way the plants sparkle when wet with dew. Another etymology sometimes given is that it does derive from lucciola but that this meant a midsummerfield, or from the Latin luculus, meaning a small place; the same source also states that this name was applied by Luigi Anguillara (an Italian botanist) in 1561. These rushes are usually perennial plants with rhizomes and sometimes stolons. They generally form clumps of cylindrical stems and narrow leaves with hair-lined edges. The inflorescence is often a dense cluster of flowers with two leaf-like bracts at the base, or sometimes a solitary flower or a few flowers borne together. They have six brownish tepals. Luzula species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the Smoky Wainscot. Several moths of the genus Coleophora have been observed on the plants. Coleophora biforis and C. otidipennella feed exclusively on Luzula. C. antennariella is limited to Luzula pilosa, and C. sylvaticella feeds only on L. sylvatica.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
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