Soft Rush (Juncus effusus)

Soft Rush 

The Soft Rush (Juncus effusus) is an emergent plant found on the shores of French Hill Pond. It belongs to the Rush Family (Juncacceae) and order Poales. The photograph above was taken on French Hill Pond in 2009. No leaves are apparent on these plants. Quite often Soft Rushes have no leaves. The stem accomplishes the photosynthesis that the plant requires. Occasionally, a Soft Rush plant will grow short, elongated, basal leaves up to six inches (15 centimeters) long. The flowers are tiny and clustered at the tip of the stem as high as four feet (1.22 meters) above the root system. The next photograph shows a detail of the flower cluster.

Soft Rush Flowers 

Each flower has three sepals, three petals and three stamens. The size of a Soft Rush flower is about 1/6 inch (4 mm). It flowers from July to September. The fruit is a dry capsule containing a large number of seeds.

The root system is a branching rootstock.

Soft Rushes are only found in wet areas. Some animals eat the root stock or use stands of Soft Rushes for shelter. People have used the stem to make a type of candle called a rushlight. Like other emergent plants, Soft Rushes help filter runoff water before it enters the pond.

 

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