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Soft Rush

Juncus effusus


There are many species of rushes and they are difficult to identify without using detailed botanical keys. In general, rushes are perennial plants that are often confused with grasses or sedges. Rushes can grow in shallow water or moist soils.

Soft rush is grass-like and grows in dense clusters from rhizomes, up to 3 1/2 feet in height. stems are dark green, singular (not branched), soft, with fine vertical lines, round in cross section, with a sharp tip, and with sheaths around the base. Flowers are borne in a single cluster along the upper half of the stem but not near the stem tip.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Waterfowl, game birds, and song birds will consume seeds of soft rush (and other rushes).