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JUNCUS EFFUSUS | Soft Rush

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JUN-EFF
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Product Description

This native perennial rush is about 2-4' tall, forming vegetative clumps of unbranched stems that are erect to ascending. Each stem is medium green, terete (round in cross-section), soft, and hairless; it is typically about 4 mm. across at the base, becoming gradually more slender to about 2 mm. across near the inflorescence. Because each stem lacks cauline leaves, it has a naked appearance. At the base of each stem, there is a prominent dark-colored basal sheath; it is usually about 2-3" long and lacks any blade. Older sheaths often exist underneath this basal sheath, but they are withered and inconspicuous.

 
Sun Exposure               Prairie
Soil Moisture Wet, Wet Mesic, Mesic
Bloom Time

 

Bloom Color  
Max Height 2 feet
Wetland Code OBL
Germ Code  C(60), D
Seeds Per Ounce   1,000,000

 

The central stem terminates in an inflorescence and its stem-like bract. This bract is about 4-12" long and looks like a continuation of the stem beyond the inflorescence. The inflorescence is a compound umbel of florets that spans about ¾–4" across; it hangs from one side. Sometimes this umbel has rays (or branches) that are bunched together, while at other times the rays are widely spreading. The rays of this compound umbel are slender, somewhat curved or drooping, and irregular in length. At the base of the umbel, there may be a few basal bracts that are small and scale-like. Each terminal ray of the umbel has a single floret that is 2-3.5 mm. in length. Depending on the stage of their maturity, the florets can be green, straw-colored, or dark brown. Each floret consists of a 3 sepals, 3 petals, a central ovary (or seed capsule), 3 stamens, and a single style. The petals are inconspicuous and look like inner sepals. The sepals and petals are lanceolate in shape, spreading slightly away from ovary/capsule. The latter is ovoid-obovoid in shape and becomes about the same length as the sepals and petals at maturity; the ovary/capsule often has a tiny inconspicuous beak at its apex. The blooming period occurs during the summer. Cross-pollination is achieved by the wind. At maturity, the seed capsule splits open into 3 parts to release the tiny seeds, which can blow about in the wind or float on water. The seeds are about 0.5 mm. long, flattened, ellipsoid-ovoid, and brown; the 2 endpoints of each seed have tiny beaks. The root system consists of short scaly rhizomes and coarse fibrous roots.

"The preference is full sun, wet conditions, and mucky soil; some sand, gravel, or silt is readily tolerated. This rush can be established in new locations by dividing the clumps or digging up the rhizomes; germination of the seeds is slower and more problematic. It is possible to establish this rush at drier sites (e.g., in an ornamental garden), but this will require occasional watering during dry spells.

Soft Rush (Juncus Dudleyi) is a native perennial rush is about 2-4' tall, forming vegetative clumps of unbranched stems that are erect to ascending. Each stem is medium green, terete (round in cross-section), soft, and hairless; it is typically about 4 mm. across at the base, becoming gradually more slender to about 2 mm. across near the inflorescence. Because each stem lacks cauline leaves, it has a naked appearance. At the base of each stem, there is a prominent dark-colored basal sheath; it is usually about 2-3" long and lacks any blade. Older sheaths often exist underneath this basal sheath, but they are withered and inconspicuous.

Edible Uses: Young shoots - raw. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses: The pith of the stem is antiphlogistic, depurative, discutient, diuretic, febrifuge, lenitive, lithontripic, pectoral and sedative. It is used in the treatment of sore throats, jaundice, oedema, acute urinary tract infection and morbid crying of babies.

Other Uses: "Stems are used in basket making, thatching, weaving mats etc. The stems can also be dried then twisted or braided into ropes for tying or binding. Stems can be peeled (except for a small spine which is left to keep them upright) and soaked in oil then used as a candle. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for making paper. The stems are harvested in late summer or autumn, they are split and cut into usable pieces and then soaked for 24 hours in clear water. They are then cooked for 2 hours with lye and beaten in a blender. The fibres make an off-white paper. When mixed with mulberry fibres they can be used for making stencil paper. The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb.

Herbal Uses: Unknown

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