JUNCACEAE (rush family), in botany, a natural order of flowering plants belonging to the series Liliiflorae of the class Monocotyledons, containing about two hundred species in seven genera, widely distributed in temperate and cold regions. It is well represented in Britain by the two genera which comprise nearly the whole order - Juncus, rush, and Luzula, woodrush. They are generally perennial herbs with a creeping underground stem and erect, unbranched, aerial stems, bearing slender Juncus effusus, common rush.
I. Plant a nat. size.
2. Inflorescence, nat. size.
3. End of branch of inflorescence slightly enlarged.
leaves which are grass-like or cylindrical or reduced to membranous sheaths. The small inconspicuous flowers are generally more or less crowded in terminal or lateral clusters, the form of the inflorescence varying widely according to the manner of branching and the length of the pedicels. The flowers are hermaphrodite and regular, with the same number and arrangement of parts as in the order Liliaceae, from which they differ in the inconspicuous membranous character of the perianth, the absence of honey or smell, and the brushlike stigmas with long papillae-adaptations to wind-pollination as contrasted with the methods of pollination by insect agency, which characterize the Liliaceae. Juncaceae are, in fact, a less elaborated group of the same series as Liliaceae, but adapted to a simpler and more uniform environment than that larger and much more highly developed family.
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