Rushes

Scientific Name:

Juncus (taxonomic genus)

Type:

Herbaceous Plant

Habitat:

Temperate biomes, in general

Range:

Native to Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas; widespread worldwide

Status:

Species vary from Least Concern to Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Rushes (or, any species in the Juncus genus) look similar to grasses. However, they can be distinguished by their leaves, which are either hollow or filled with marrow. Rushes also differ from grasses in that their modest flowers come off of branches instead of from the stems.

Fast Facts:

  • Rushes have not always been of interest to botanists. James Ebenezer Bicheno once described the plant as ‘obscure and uninviting.’

  • Due to their extensive root system, they help stave off soil erosion.

  • Rushes provide food for birds and small mammals, but cattle will avoid them.

  • The scientific name of rushes, Juncus, comes from the Latin word jungere, which means to join or bind together. Rushes most likely got this name because they were used by groups, such as indigenous Americans, for basket weaving, thatching, and binding materials.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Meghan Anderson (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

April 23, 2021, 10:00:02 PM