Juncus greenei (Greene's Rush)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Juncaceae (Rush)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; moist to dry sandy soils; shores, swales, dunes, meadows, prairies
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:8 to 28 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowering cluster] Branching clusters at the top of the stem, the branches erect with 5 to 50 tightly crowded flowers. The lowest branch is subtended by an erect, leaf-like bract that usually rises well above the uppermost branch. Flowers are single, not in heads of 2 or more, stalkless or nearly so, with 6 tepals (petals and similar sepals) in 2 layers, 2.5 to 4.2 mm long, pointed at the tip, dark green with pale papery edging, and the inner tepals as long as or slightly shorter than the outer. Flowers have a 3-parted style and 6 stamens, the anthers (tips) about as long as the filament (stalk).

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of stem and channeled leaf] A flowering stem has 2 to 3 alternate leaves near the base of the stem. Leaves are dark green, 2 to 12 inches long, less than 1mm wide, half to 2/3 as long as the flowering stem, nearly round in cross-section though channeled especially near the base.

[photo of auricle] The sheath is open at the front. At the tip of the sheath is a pair of rounded lobes (auricles) .4 to .6 mm long, usually thin and papery, rarely thickened. Stems are dark green, round in cross-section, smooth, erect, unbranched, multiple from the base and creating tight clumps from short rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of maturing fruit] The tepals persist and become brown and mostly appressed in fruit. Fruit is a lance to egg-shaped, 3-chambered capsule 2.9 to 3.5 mm long, chestnut brown to dark olive-brown when mature, distinctly longer than the tepals. Inside the capsule are numerous tiny seeds, elliptic to crescent-shaped, .4 to .7mm long, amber colored to brown when mature with a white stub at the tip but no elongated tails.


Greene's Rush is one of the less common rushes in Minnesota, found in the sandy soils of lake and pond shores, sand prairies, dunes and clearings, and mostly within the Anoka Sand Plain. It is most similar to Vasey's Rush (Juncus vaseyi), which has long tails on the seeds and is usually fewer flowered. Somewhat similar are Path Rush (Juncus tenuis), Inland Rush (Juncus interior) and Dudley's Rush (Juncus dudleyi), all of which have capsules as long as or shorter than the tepals and leaves that are more or less flat, not round in cross-section. The dark green color of Greene's Rush further distinguishes it from similar species.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in her garden in Ramsey County.


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