One of the most common species of Juncus, the native soft rush may be found as a single clump, as a colony of clumps or as a colony of single stems several feet tall, in water or on “dry” ground. It may be found in fresh- or saltwater wet areas. Soft rush provides food and nesting to birds and other wildlife. Twenty-one species of Juncus occurs in Florida (Wunderlin, 2003). Soft rush is located throughout the majority of the US, parts of Canada, and PR (Kartesz, 1999).
Soft rush is a true rush. Its pale-green stems are erect and two to five feet tall. Stems are cylindrical and filled with pithy pith. Soft rush has no leaves. Leafy reddish sheaths wrap the stems at the bottom of the plant. The inflorescence of soft rush appears to be coming out of the side of the stem. The inflorescence is open and branched. Each branch has 30-100 small flowers, each greenish-brown flower on its own stalk. Above the inflorescence is a “continuation” of the pointed stem, this being a stiff, rolled and pointed bract, usually brown or grayish when mature.
View the herbarium specimen image from the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.