Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Luzula hitchcockii


SPECIES: Luzula hitchcockii
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Habeck, R. J. 1992. Luzula hitchcockii. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : LUZHIT SYNONYMS : Luzula glabrata (Hoppe) Desv. Luzula piperi (Coville) M.E. Jones SCS PLANT CODE : LUHI4 COMMON NAMES : smooth woodrush woodrush TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of smooth woodrush is Luzula hitchcockii Hamet-Ahti [15]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Luzula hitchcockii
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Smooth woodrush can be found from southern British Columbia south to southern Oregon, and east to southwestern Alberta, Idaho, Montana, and northern Wyoming [15]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES22 Western white pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES24 Hemlock - Sitka spruce FRES26 Lodgepole pine STATES : ID MT OR WA AB BC BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 2 Cascade Mountains 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest K004 Fir - hemlock forest K013 Cedar - hemlock - pine forest K014 Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest SAF COVER TYPES : 205 Mountain hemlock 206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir 208 Whitebark pine 224 Western hemlock SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Smooth woodrush generally occurs with subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) and mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana). It also occupies 20 to 25 percent ground cover of subalpine larch (Larix lyallii) communities in the Pacific Northwest [3]. Associated tree species include Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western larch (Larix occidentalis), western white pine (Pinus monticola), lodgepole pine (P. contorta), whitebark pine (P. albicaulis), and Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii). Understory associates include grouse whortleberry (Vaccinum scoparium), Sitka valerian (Valeriana sitchensis), mountain arnica (Arnica latifolia), and menziesia (Menziesia ferruginea) [1,10,21,24,25]. Publications listing smooth woodrush as an indicator or dominant species in habitat types are as follows: Forest habitat types of northern Idaho: a sencond approximation [10] Forest habitat types of Montana [21] Forest habitat types of eastern Idaho-western Wyoming [24] Forest habitat types of central Idaho [25].


SPECIES: Luzula hitchcockii
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Smooth woodrush sites are generally important to wildlife species inhabiting high elevations. Thirteen plant species were identified as being important grizzly bear food on a smooth woodrush habitat site in northern Idaho and Montana [19]. Elk in central Idaho find smooth woodrush sites to have medium forage value in both summer and fall [9]. Caribou use smooth woodrush sites in northern Idaho for calving habitat during June to mid-July [28]. PALATABILITY : Not much information is available concerning the palatability of smooth woodrush. Grizzly bears in northern Idaho, however, comsume all plant parts of smooth woodrush which include the flowers, leaves, roots, and stems [2]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Many of the sites that include smooth woodrush are outside commercial timber production areas, and timber management activities are not anticipated. Therefore, management of smooth woodrush is generally not part of a timber management plan. Those sites occupied largely by subalpine fir and mountain hemlock (SEE HABITAT TYPES) are generally managed using partial thinnings, long rotations (60 to 80 years), and at times are artificially regenerated [28].


SPECIES: Luzula hitchcockii
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Smooth woodrush is a short, rhizomatous perennial graminoid, 6 to 20 inches (15-50 cm) tall, with round, hollow culms. The leaves are shiny, 1 to 2 inches (2-6 cm) long, with flattened reddish-brown tips; often becoming mottled rusty red in midsummer. Smooth woodrush has a solitary inflorescence containing small flowers. Fruits are reddish-brown capsules containing three seeds [20]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Smooth woodrush has been widely cited as being rhizomatous, and usually regenerates into extensive colonies. It also reproduces via seed. Seeds: Specific information relating to smooth woodrush is not available. Information on alpine rush (Luzula spicata), however, a species which occupies a similiar environment, is available. Seed germination was experimentally induced in L. spicata by random scarification, which was achieved by repeated freeze-thaw cycles, followed by stratification for 2 to 3 months. This germination requirement may represent an adaptation to fall freeze-thaw cycles followed by extended chilling under heavy snowpack [7]. In areas with heavy snowpack, smooth woodrush has exhibited nearly full-sized growth of etiolated shoots under the snow [12]. Seed dispersal: Seeds of smooth woodrush are primarily dispersed by the splash cup method. Heavy raindrops falling directly, or from a tree drip edge, throw seeds out from the flared lip of the open capsule. In higher elevations where heavy snowpacks restrict smooth woodrush height, seed dispersal relies upon vibrations from wind or passing animals. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Smooth woodrush is found in high elevations, generally ranging from 5,700 to 8,200 feet (1,737-2,500 m), with deep, late-melting snowpacks [20]. It occupies a variety of sites from montane forests to subalpine and alpine slopes, ridges, meadows, and cirque floors [17]. Soils: Smooth woodrush is found on soils derived from granitics to noncalcareous parent materials. Surface soils tend to be very acidic (pH 4.2 to 4.8). Soil textures range from sandy loam to gravelly loam [10,21,25]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Smooth woodrush is onsidered an indicator of cold environments where snow lies late [17]. Once smooth woodrush becomes established, it often forms a heavy mat which excludes other understory plants from establishing. It was listed as a mesic site indicator within the subalpine larch habitat type in the Pacific Northwest [3]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Seasonal records for smooth woodrush are scarce. The phenological stages for alpine rush, however, were observed near Boulder, Colorado, and are as follows [6]: Apparent end Spring bud of autumn die-back break ------------------- ---------- Luzula spicata 20 September 30 March - 15 April Herbarium specimens of smooth woodrush collected in western Montana show a flowering period that ranges from June 28 to August 13 for plants at 6,000 to 7,100 feet (1,829-2,164 m). At high elevations (8,000 to 8,700 feet (2,438-2,652 m)), flowering occurs from July 15th to September 1 [26].


SPECIES: Luzula hitchcockii
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Following fire, smooth woodrush sprouts from surviving rhizomes [5,11]. In western Montana, mean fire intervals for smooth woodrush sites range from 30 to 41 years [4]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil


SPECIES: Luzula hitchcockii
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire will consume all aboveground parts of smooth woodrush. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Smooth woodrush often shows an increase in biomass following fire [11]. Following a fire in a whitebark pine community in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Monatana, smooth woodrush increased by 252 pounds/acre (92 kg/ha) from postfire year 1 to postfire year 3, while the cover percent remained constant. This biomass increase was attributed to vegetative sprouting from the surviving plants [5]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

References for species: Luzula hitchcockii

1. Alexander, Robert R.; Shearer, Raymond C.; Shepperd, Wayne D. 1990. Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt. subalpine fir. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 60-70. [13369]
2. Almack, Jon. 1986. Grizzly bear habitat use, food habits, and movements in the Selkirk Mountains, northern Idaho. In: Contreras, Glen P.; Evans, Keith E., compilers. Proceedings--grizzly bear habitat symposium; 1985 April 30 - May 2; Missoula, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-207. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 150-157. [10815]
3. Arno, Stephen F.; Habeck, James R. 1972. Ecology of alpine larch (Larix lyallii Parl.) in the Pacific Northwest. Ecological Monographs. 42: 417-450. [16451]
4. Arno, Stephen F. 1976. The historical role of fire on the Bitterroot National Forest. Res. Pap. INT-187. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. [15225]
5. Ash, Maria; Lasko, Richard J. 1990. Postfire vegetative response in a whitebark pine community, Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana. In: Schmidt, Wyman C.; McDonald, Kathy J., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on whitebark pine ecosystems: ecology and management of a high-mountain resource; 1989 March 29-31; Bozeman, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-270. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 360-361. [11705]
6. Bell, Katherine L. 1974. Autumn, winter and spring phenology of some Colorado alpine plants. The American Midland Naturalist. 91(2): 460-464. [233]
7. Bell, Katherine L.; Amen, Ralph D. 1970. Seed dormancy in Luzula spicata and L. parviflora. Ecology. 51(3): 492-496. [17447]
8. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]
9. Bills, Jack E.; Hauff, Richard T.; Barker, Paul; [and others], approved by. 1981. Elk habitat relationships of central Idaho. Unpublished report compiled by: U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and University of Idaho. 57 p. [16521]
10. Cooper, Stephen V.; Neiman, Kenneth E.; Roberts, David W. 1991. (Rev.) Forest habitat types of northern Idaho: a second approximation. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-236. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 143 p. [14792]
11. Crane, M. F.; Fischer, William C. 1986. Fire ecology of the forest habitat types of central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-218. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 85 p. [5297]
12. Daubenmire, Rexford. 1981. Subalpine parks associated with snow transfer in the mountains of northern Idaho and eastern Washington. Northwest Science. 55(2): 124-135. [8273]
13. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
14. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]
15. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
16. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384]
17. Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 648 p. [13798]
18. Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373. [1496]
19. Mealey, Stephen P.; Jonkel, Charles J.; Demarchi, Ray. 1977. Habitat criteria for grizzly bear management. In: Peterie, T., ed. Proceedings, 13th international congress of game biologists; 1977 March 11-15; Atlanta, GA. No. 13. [Place of publication unknown]. [Publisher unknown]. 276-289. [17030]
20. Patterson, Patricia A.; Neiman, Kenneth E.; Tonn, Jonalea. 1985. Field guide to forest plants of northern Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-180. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 246 p. [1839]
21. Pfister, Robert D.; Kovalchik, Bernard L.; Arno, Stephen F.; Presby, Richard C. 1977. Forest habitat types of Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-34. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 174 p. [1878]
22. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]
23. Simpson, Michael L. 1990. The subalpine fir/beargrass habitat type: Succession and management. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. 134 p. Thesis. [13464]
24. Steele, Robert; Cooper, Stephen V.; Ondov, David M.; [and others]. 1983. Forest habitat types of eastern Idaho-western Wyoming. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-144. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 122 p. [2230]
25. Steele, Robert; Pfister, Robert D.; Ryker, Russell A.; Kittams, Jay A. 1981. Forest habitat types of central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-114. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 138 p. [2231]
26. Habeck, R. J. 1992. [Personal communication].February 13. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Fire Sciences Laboratory. personal observation at Univ. of MT Herbarium. [30260]
27. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573]
28. Zack, Arthur C. 1989. Interdisciplinary development of caribou habitat management guidelines: the role of the silviculturist. In: Silviculture for all resources: Proceedings of the National Silviculture Workshop; 1987 May 11-14; Sacramento, CA. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Timber Management: 25-47. [14742]
29. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 10 p. [20090]

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