Soft Rush

Juncus effusus

Juncaceae - Rush Family

Soft Rush, also know as Common Rush or Corkscrew Rush, is native to every continent and is especially adapted to temperate climates. The plant is found growing in wet areas, most commonly in humus-rich environments such as marshes, ditches, fens, and beaver dams.1
Soft Rush grows in large clumps up to 1.5 meters across (about 5 feet), mostly along the water’s edge of streams or ditches. Soft Rush is a strikingly upright plant with vertically fanning stems and inconspicuous flowers. These long, round stems are smooth, green cylinders with light pith filling. Roughly 20 cm from the top of the plant, a golden yellow inflorescence - cluster of small flowers - emerges from one side of the stem and bloom from June to August.2
Soft Rush has an expansive distribution across every continent with an extended range throughout the world. However, Soft Rush is also capable of becoming invasive in any environment with moist soil. Although Soft Rush is a plant largely utilized for ornamental purposes, due to its height, it can form dense colonies with the capacity to provide significant cover and nesting habitats for wetland birds and other kinds of wildlife, which in turn help to distribute the tiny seeds that cling to the feathers and feet of these organisms.3

References and Useful Websites:

1 Natural Resources Conservation Service - U. S. Department of Agriculture
2 Floridata
3 Illinois Wildflowers

This page was prepared by Ellis Sojourner, Biology 102, Fall 2011

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