In recent years the BSBI have been very generous in putting on free training events for their members, to assist us with identification of more difficult groups of plants. This August the Juncaceae training day proved popular with over a dozen participants joining well known local tutors Sarah and Mark for a trip to the Stiperstones in Shropshire.
We began, as usual, in the car park, with show and tell of some interesting specimens collected from all around the UK. Juncaceae are the rushes and wood-rushes, Juncus and Luzula species (club-rushes are a different family). The specimens were taken from a wide variety of habitats, and included such exotica as sharp rush, a viciously pointy-looking large rush from saltmarshes. The main ID feature of sharp rush is that it will stab you ruthlessly if you get anywhere near it, as the tops of the stems are armed with a woody and very sharp tip! I kept well away and took a photo of this specimen of Luzula forsteri instead…
We then trooped up the hill to get to know the various Juncus species growing around the Stiperstones in such varied habitats as heathland, flushes and marshes. Here we are inspecting soft-rush Juncus effusus:
It was a rather pleasant day out: educational, with the company of friends and like-minded people, and in good weather. Just what a BSBI meeting should be 🙂