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Juncus effusus

Juncus effusus, (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales

Familia: Juncaceae
Genus: Juncus
Species: Juncus effusus
Subspecies: J. e. subsp. austrocalifornicus – J. e. subsp. effusus – J. e. subsp. laxus – J. e. subsp. pacificus – J. e. subsp. solutus

Juncus effusus L., 1753
Native distribution areas:

'Continental: Cosmopolita
Afghanistan, Alabama, Alaska, Albania, Algeria, Altay, Arizona, Arkansas, Austria, Azores, Baleares, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, British Columbia, Bulgaria, Burundi, California, Cambodia, Canary Is., Central European Rus, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Connecticut, Corse, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Delaware, Denmark, District of Columbia, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, East Himalaya, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Florida, France, Free State, Føroyar, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Idaho, Illinois, India, Indiana, Iowa, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kansas, Kentucky, Kenya, Krasnoyarsk, Kriti, Krym, Leeward Is., Louisiana, Madagascar, Madeira, Maine, Manchuria, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mauritius, Mexican Pacific Is., Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Morocco, Nebraska, Netherlands, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Newfoundland, North Carolina, North Caucasus, North European Russi, Northern Provinces, Northwest European R, Norway, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Oregon, Palestine, Pennsylvania, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Prince Edward I., Québec, Rhode I., Romania, Rwanda, Sardegna, Sicilia, South Carolina, South European Russi, Spain, Svalbard, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tennessee, Texas, Tibet, Transcaucasus, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Himalaya, West Siberia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Yugoslavia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe
Introduced into:
Amsterdam-St.Paul Is, Cape Provinces, Colorado, Falkland Is., Hawaii, Irkutsk, Marion-Prince Edward, New South Wales, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, St.Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Victoria

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 326. Reference page.

Additional references

Kirschner, J. & al. (2002). Juncaceae Species Plantarum: Flora of the World 6-8: 1-237, 1-336,1-192. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Juncus effusus in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Mar 06. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2022. Juncus effusus. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2022. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Mar 06. Reference page. 2022. Juncus effusus. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 06 Mar 2022.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Juncus effusus. Published online. Accessed: Mar 06 2022.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Juncus effusus in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

Vernacular names
dansk: Lyse-Siv
Deutsch: Flatter-Binse
English: Soft rush
español: hierba de la música, junco, junco de esteras, junco de esters, junco espartero, junco fino, junco merino, juncos, junquillo, xunca.
suomi: Röyhyvihvilä
magyar: Békaszittyó
italiano: Giunco comune
日本語: イグサ
Nederlands: Pitrus
polski: Sit rozpierzchły

Juncus effusus, with the common names common rush or soft rush, is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant species in the rush family Juncaceae. In North America, the common name soft rush also refers to Juncus interior.


Juncus effusus is nearly cosmopolitan, considered native in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. It has naturalized in Australia, Madagascar, and various oceanic islands.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

It is found growing in wet areas, such as wetlands, riparian areas, and marshes. In the United Kingdom it is found in purple moor-grass and rush pastures and fen-meadow plant associations.[7]

Juncus effusus grows in large clumps about 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) tall at the water's edge along streams and ditches, but can be invasive anywhere with moist soil. It is commonly found growing in humus-rich areas like marshes, ditches, fens, and beaver dams.

The stems are smooth cylinders with light pith filling. The yellowish inflorescence appears to emerge from one side of the stem about 20 centimetres (8 in) from the top. In fact the stem ends there; the top part is the bract, that continues with only a slight colour-band marking it from the stem. The lower leaves are reduced to a brown sheath at the bottom of the stem.

Five subspecies are currently recognized:[1]

Juncus effusus subsp. austrocalifornicus Lint — endemic to California and Baja California.[8][9][10]
Juncus effusus subsp. effusus — widespread
Juncus effusus subsp. laxus (Robyns & Tournay) Snogerup — tropical Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Canary Islands, Madeira.
Juncus effusus subsp. pacificus (Fernald & Wiegand) Piper & Beattie — Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Baja California.[10][11][12]
Juncus effusus subsp. solutus (Fernald & Wiegand) Hämet-Ahti — central and eastern United States.[13]

Juncus effusus can be differentiated from the rarer Juncus pylaei by the number of ridges on the stem. Juncus effusus has 30 to 40 ridges and J. pylaei has 10 to 20.[14]
Pupal cases of Coleophora caespitiella on J. effusus.

The species provides wildfowl, wader feeding, and nesting habitats, and also habitats for small mammals. The rootstalks are eaten by muskrats, and birds take shelter amongst the plant's stems. A number of invertebrates feed on soft rush, including the rufous minor moth.[15]

Juncus effusus is one of the seven ingredients of hui sup tea (去濕茶).[citation needed] In Japan, this rush is called igusa (藺草) and is grown to be woven into the covering of tatami mats (the filling is rice straw, extruded styrofoam, chip board, or some combination).[16] In Iran and Afghanistan too it is used to weave light cheap mats. It is called halfa (حلفا) and has medicinal uses too. In Europe, this rush was once used to make rushlights (by soaking the pith in grease), a cheap alternative to candles.

The species is cultivated as an ornamental plant, for planting in water gardens, native plant and wildlife gardens, and for larger designed natural landscaping and habitat restoration projects.

The cultivar Juncus effusus 'Spiralis' (syn. Juncus spiralis), with the common names corkscrew rush or spiral rush, is a distinctive potted and water garden plant due to its very curled spiral like foliage.[17]
Weed control

Juncus effusus can become a naturalized or invasive species, undesirable in rangelands for its unpalatability to livestock. Suggested methods of controlling rushes include: ploughing; high applications of inorganic fertilizer (can pollute watersheds); and topping to prevent seed formation.

Juncusol is a 9,10-dihydrophenanthrene found in J. effusus.[18][19] The plant also contains effusol[20] and dehydroeffusol.[21]

Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Kirschner, J. & al. (2002). Juncaceae. Species Plantarum: Flora of the World 6-8: 1-237, 1-336,1-192. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.
Al-Qura'n, S. (2011). The flora of Jordan: A taxonomical revision of Juncaceae. Arnaldoa 18: 33–36.
Flora of China Vol. 24 Page 48, 灯心草 deng xin cao, Juncus effusus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 326. 1753
Flora of North America vol 22, Soft rush, Juncus effusus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 326. 1753.
C. Michael Hogan, ed. 2010. Juncus effusus. Encyclopedia of Life.
Conservation Land Management Magazine: "Cutting Rushes" article, Spring 2003, British Wildlife Publishing.
Calflora: Juncus effusus subsp. austrocalifornicus
Jepson eFlora: Juncus effusus subsp. austrocalifornicus
Peter F.Zika (2003). "The native subspecies of Juncus effusus (Juncaceae) in western North America". Brittonia. 55 (2): 150–156. doi:10.1663/0007-196X(2003)055[0150:TNSOJE]2.0.CO;2. JSTOR 3218455.
Calflora: Juncus effusus subsp. pacificus
Jepson: Juncus effusus subsp. pacificus
USDA: Juncus effusus subsp. solutus
Morton, J.K.; Venn, Joan. M. (2000). "The Flora of Manitoulin Island". University of Waterloo Biology Series N. 40. 3rd. edition.
Niering, William A.; Olmstead, Nancy C. (1985) [1979]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Knopf. p. 568. ISBN 0-394-50432-1.
"Structure of Tatami". Motoyama Tatami Shop. 2015-06-28. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
Heritage Perennials: Juncus effusus spiralis
Bhattacharyya (1980). "Structure of effusol: A new phenolic constituent from Juncus effusus". Experientia. 36: 27–28. doi:10.1007/bf02003949. S2CID 41731083.
Shima, Katsuhito; Toyota, Masao; Asakawa, Yoshinori (1991). "Phenanthrene derivatives from the medullae of Juncus effusus". Phytochemistry. 30 (9): 3149. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)98276-1.
Carvalho, CF; Sargent, MV; Stanojevic, E (1984). "Phenanthrene synthesis: The synthesis of effusol a 9,10-Dihydrophenanthrene from the marsh grass Juncus effusus". Australian Journal of Chemistry. 37 (10): 2111. doi:10.1071/CH9842111.
Liao, You-Jiao; Zhai, Hai-Feng; Zhang, Bing; Duan, Tian-Xuan; Huang, Jian-Mei (2010). "Anxiolytic and Sedative Effects of Dehydroeffusol from Juncus effusus in Mice". Planta Medica. 77 (5): 416–20. doi:10.1055/s-0030-1250517. PMID 21104609.

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