Soft Rush

Soft Rush

Soft Rush - Juncus effusus

Perennial plant up to 120 cm tall, with creeping rhizome and erect, cylindrical, smooth green stems in thick bundles. Each stem contains a spongy white pith that often tends to disappear at the end of the season.

The leaves, reduced to short brown sheaths, are wrapped around the base of the stem, giving the impression that the plant is leafless.

The inflorescence, branched like a fan, only seems to be lateral, as really it grows from the axil of a terminal bract, up to thirty centimetres long, which is the visible continuation of the stem.

The species flowers from May to September. Juncus effusus is widespread over all Italy and is very common in marshlands, wet meadows, the edges of even small ditches and on nutrient-rich lands.

The name of the genus comes from the Latin jungere = tie, which clearly refers to the use that has always been made of its flexible yet strong stems. In the past the pith was used as candle wick in north and central European countries.