Monographs Details: Luzula pilosa Willd.
Authority: Ebinger, John E. 1964. Taxonomy of the Subgenus Pterodes, Genus Luzula. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 10 (5): 279-304.
Scientific Name:Luzula pilosa Willd.
Description:Species Description - Perennial, with very short rhizomes, to 2 cm long, 1-2 mm wide, dark scalelike leaves and slender adventitious roots; blades of basal leaves flat, 5-11 mm wide, to 20 cm long, margins glabrous to sparsely pubescent, apex callose-tipped, without a mueronate projection; culms erect, slender, smooth, 20-40 cm tall, bearing 2-4 leaves; sheaths closed, pubescent at the throat with long white hairs; blades linear, 1-3 mm wide, to 4 cm long, usually only 2 cm, margins glabrous to sparsely pubescent, callose-tipped; inflorescence terminal, compound, usually with numerous secondary pedicels, most of the pedicels nodding or reflexed; basal bract erect, much shorter than the inflorescence, leaf-like, green, margins glabrous to pubescent, callose-tipped; other bracts of the inflorescence light brown to dark brown with hyaline margins; inner bract at the base of each pedicel truncate with a hyaline tip, sometimes pubescent; outer bract usually shorter than the inner, acuminate, pubescent; bracteoles at the base of the flowers ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, light brown with hyaline tip and margins, half as long as the flower; perianth segments similar, equal, lanceolate, entire, usually extended into a slender tip, light to dark brown to black with narrow hyaline margins, 3-4 mm long; stamens 6 shorter than the perianth, filaments linear white, anthers linear usually twice as long as the filament; pistil erect, style filiform 1 mm long, stigmas 3 erect 2-3 m m long; fruit equalling to exceeding the perianth, to 4.5 mm long, tip subtruncate to obtuse, extended into a short tip by the persistent base of the style, stramineous to light brown; seeds 1.5 mm long, dark purple to black; caruncle at apex curved, 0.8 mm to as long as the seed, 0.5 mm wide at the base, yellow.


Luzula pilosa (L.) Willd. Enum. Hort. Berol. 393. 1809.

Juncus pilosus L. Sp. PI. 329. 1753.

Luciola pilosa (L.) Smith, Engl. Fl. 2: 178. 1824.

Juncodes pilosum (L.) 0. Ktze. Eev. Gen. PI. 2: 725. 1891.

Luzula pilosa (L.) Willd. var. simplex Sender, Fl. Hamburgensis 199. 1851.

Luzula pilosa (L.) Willd. var. prolifera J. Ch. Doll, Fl. Grossherzogthums Baden 1: 325. 1857.

Juncus vernalis Eeichard, PI. Moeno-Francof. 2: 182. 1778.

Luzula vernalis (Ehrh.) DC. in Lam. & DC. Fl. Fr. 3: 160. 1805.

Juncus pilosus L. var. vernalis (Hoffm.) Pers. Syn. PI. 1: 385. 1805.

Nemorinia vernalis (Ehrh.) Pourr. Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, NS. 17: 172. 1869.

Juncus luzula Krock. Fl. Siles. 1: 569. 1787.

Juncus pilosus L. var. cymosus Schrank, Baier. Fl. 1: 622. 1789.

Juncus nemorosus Lam. Encycl. 3: 272. 1789.

Luzula nemorosa (Lam.) Dulac, Fl. Hautes-pyr. 100. 1867.

Type. This species was named by Linnaeus and no type was designated and no specimens listed. However, in the micro-edition of photographs of the specimens of the Linnaean herbarium (International Documentation Center) a specimen was seen that is typical of Luzula pilosa and is labeled Juncus pilosus. In the opinion of the author this specimen in the Linnaean herbarium should be considered the type of the species.

Luzula pilosa is a wide ranging species found throughout northern Europe (Fig. 5). This taxon is very constant in its morphological characteristics and it did not seem feasible to distinguish varieties or subspecies. However, some variation does exist. Some of the specimens from the northern part of its range tend to have rhizomes that are 2-3 cm long, while these are lacking in the southern plants. However, this character was highly variable, and numerous plants were caespitose, lacking rhizomes altogether. Moreover, some plants were found that had simple inflorescences, but unlike L. acuminata, this trait is not constant and cannot be correlated with geographic distribution.

This taxon is easily distinguished from the two other European species (Luzula forsteri and L. luzulina) and is morphologically more similar to the North American species L. acuminata. It can readily be distinguished from this latter species, however, by its caespitose habit, the darker color and harder texture of the perianth segments, and the subtruncate to obtuse capsule tip.

The nomenclature of Luzula pilosa is quite complicated, and there are numerous synonyms in the literature. The species was first described by Linnaeus (1753) as Juncus pilosus, and later by Reichard (1788) under the name Juncus vernalis. This latter name was taken up by most subsequent authors when referring to plants of this species. Most of the synonyms represent the transfer of these two specific epithets (pilosa and vernalis) to other generic names that are now considered synonyms of the genus Luzula. DeCandoUe in Lamarck and DeCandolle (1805), in the original description of the genus Luzula used the specific epithet vernalis for this species, but mistakenly considered Ehrhart (1791) as the author of the name, as did Fourreau (1869) when he transferred this specific epithet to the genus Nemorinia. Three other names also have been used for this species (Juncus luzula, J. nemorosus and L. nemorosa) and are here considered as synonyms of L. pilosa. Four varieties also have been designated by previous authors, but most of these are minor variants that have no geographical differences and only slight morphological variation. The one exception being var. prolifera, which probably represents a diseased or malformed specimen.