The rush family, Juncacea, includes eight genera and approximately three hundred species of grass-like plants. In ancient times rushes were used to make roofs, writing instruments, bedding, caulking for ships and some were used to make arrows. A more poetic use was for musical pipes. In the Middle Ages rushes were used to cover cold stone floors and were swept away when dirty. The presence of rushes indicates damp soil or low meadows. The following rhythm may help distinguish rushes from the similar appearing sedges and grasses: Sedges have edges,Rushes are round, Grasses have joints from the tips to the ground. The stems of rushes are round, like a knitting needle.