Secund Rush

Secund_Rush_jpgThe Juncaceae family is commonly known as the Rush family.  The larges genus in this family is Juncus.  The rush family 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.  Secund Rush is usually found on open dry sterile soil, sandy prairies and sand stone glades. The name of this species secundus means one-sided.  The flowers and fruits are only on the inner side of the inflorescence.  Thus, the flowers and fruits are “secund”, on one side.

OtherCommonName:

ScientificName:

Juncus secundus

Community:

Thicket

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

12 to 18 inches

FruitingTime:

Mid June to August, old fruit persists through October

Distribution:

Maine to Tennessee ~ Throughout Delaware Valley

FloweringTime:

Mid June to August

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Stems loosely tufted ~ Basal leaves part of the stem ~ Blades thick, flattened, loose to compact ~ Flowers numerous, pale green, pungent Seeds very small, become mucilaginous when wetted ~ Fruit in 3 lobed capsule. Consider the often quoted rhyme when identifying rushes: “Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, Grasses have joints from their tips to the ground.” The stems of rushes are round, like a knitting needle.