Rushes (family Juncaceae) are a common component of New Zealand wetland vegetation, yet species within this family appear very similar and are notoriously difficult to identify at species level for amateurs and professionals alike.
With over 50 species, Juncus are the largest component of the New Zealand rushes. A new interactive key together with downloadable field ID guide and factsheets are now available. These resources have been developed with financial assistance of the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System, administered by Department of Conservation.
In preparing the ID resources, everyday language has been used, and botanical terms kept to a minimum. Each step of the interactive key presents two character selection choices, each character described and illustrated with image(s). To use this key it is essential to observe mature, fruiting material to distinguish between species.
The best time for collection, survey or identification of material is from December to April. Factsheets developed for each species provide more detailed information on ID of both native and exotic species, distribution within New Zealand, habitat, similar species and example photographs.