Juncus rigidus Desf.
A stiff, tufted or caespitose perennial, 30-100 cm tall, pale green, subglaucous, with a short, creeping rhizome. Basal, sheaths usually with a blade, obtuse, pale-brown. Leaves present near the base only, shorter, equalling or exceeding the stems, cylindric, sharply tipped, with a continuous pith. Inflorescences apparently lateral, irregularly to fasciculately compound, (5-) 7-15 (-20) cm long, erect, interrupted, with forking unequal branches, sometimes short, dense; lower bract equalling or exceeding the inflorescence, rarely shorter, rigid, sharply pointed. Flowers (2.5-) 3-4 (-4.5) mm long, straw- coloured, usually in groups of 2-3; perianth segments subequal, lanceolate, outer acute, inner slightly shorter, subobtuse to acutish. Stamens 6; anthers c. 2 mm long, ± exceeding the filaments. Capsules ovoid-trigonous, equalling (± obtuse) to exceeding the perianth, acute, shortly beaked, 2.5-5 mm long, brownish, many seeded; seeds c. 3 mm long including whitish tails.
Fl.Per.: Almost throughout the year.
Type: “Angleterre France etc. aux lieus maritimes et marecageus” (P).
Distribution: Most of Europe and Asia, N. Africa and N. America, introduced elsewhere.
A very widely distributed and variable species in fruit size and shape and the subtending inflorescence bract. Usually considered to consist of 2 taxa (sometimes treated as separate species); at the type var. marimus (=Juncus martiimus Lam.) and the other var. arabicus Asch. & Bush. (including Juncus rigidus Desf.); the former with fruit hardly or slightly exceeding the tepals and ± obtuse and the latter with fruits conspicuously exceeding the tepals and acute. However, most of our material fall under the latter variety (or could be called Juncus rigidus Desf.) but in young fruit conditions it becomes difficult to separate out the 2 taxa.