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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Common Rush - Pages 96-97

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Common Rush
Juncus effusus

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Prefers a few inches of standing water to moist soil (Max: 12”/Min: 0”). Species will tolerate some fluctuation in water levels. Tolerates drought in summer.

Wildlife Value

Seeds are eaten by songbirds and waterfowl. Plants are eaten by muskrats, deer, and small rodents. Provides cover for ducks and spawning habitat for sunfish. Also provides nesting habitat for rails and habitat for many species of insects.


Used in upper and lower shoreline zones and in vegetated swales.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Seeds, container grown transplants, rootstocks, and rhizomes are available from commercial vendors. Seed is becoming more widely available.
  • Seeds are extremely small, difficult to disseminate, and may require cold to break dormancy.
  • Seed may be stored in fresh water or wet sand at 35-40o F for 4 to 9 months and then spring seeded by hand broadcasting.
  • Fresh seed may also be fall planted to allow overwintering to break dormancy.
  • Seeds need alternating temperatures and light for best germination.
  • One source recommends a seeding rate of up to 4 oz/acre in mixes.
  • Rhizomes and rootstocks should be spring planted 2-3 inches deep on 0.5-1.5 foot centers because of slow rate of spread in saturated soil.

Common Rush
Juncus effusus

Mature Height
1.0-3.5 feetCommon Rush

Plant Type
Perennial emergent herb

Indicator Status

Not available

Nutrient Load Tolerance

Salt Tolerance

Siltation Tolerance

Flowering Color and Time
Green or Brown
May to September

Light Preference
Partial to full sun

Seeding Rate
Not available

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