Juncus usitatus L.A.S.Johnson

Common Rush

Contr. New South Wales Natl Herb. 3: 241 (1963) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Densely tufted perennial with horizontal or ascending rhizomes. Cataphylls tight or loose, medium to dark brown or occasionally reddish-brown towards the base, to c. 18 cm long. Culms erect, green or yellowish-green, 35–120 cm high and 1.0–2.0 mm diam.; striations 25–40(–45), moderately strongly raised and fairly crowded; pith interrupted, air spaces variable in size, often ± equal to the pith; stomates superficial. Inflorescence open to rather dense, flowers scattered along few to many branchlets; primary bract continuous with culm, to c. 25 cm long; prophylls present. Tepals with a green or faintly reddish-tinged midrib, membranous margins of inner tepals rather broad, acute but not acuminate, 1.3–2.0 mm long; stamens 3, anthers 0.3–0.5(–0.7)mm long. Capsules stramineous or with a darker golden-brown or reddish-brown apex, exceeding the tepals, 1.5–2.0 mm long. Flowers mostly Nov.–Feb., seeds shed mostly Jan.–Mar.

CVU, EGL, EGU, GipP, Gold, HNF, HSF, MonT, MuF, MSB, NIS, OtP, RobP, SnM, VRiv, VVP. Also WA (naturalised), SA (naturalised), Qld, NSW, ACT. New Zealand, New Caledonia. A relatively infrequently collected species that occurs most commonly in riparian habitats.

A robust form with cataphylls to 28 cm long and anthers to 0.9 mm long was collected 'from swamps on the Snowy River' in 1855 but has not been collected since. Often confused with Juncus amabilis, J. aridicola and J. sarophorus, less frequently with J. pauciflorus and J. continuus. The key characters should serve to distinguish it from J. amabilis, and for differentiating features from J. aridicola see notes under that species. J. usitatus differs from J. sarophorus in having more crowded culm striations, superficial stomates, and smaller, acute (rather than acuminate) tepals that are clearly shorter than the capsules. Hybrids with J. amabilis are known.

Source: Albrecht, D.E. (1994). Juncus. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-03-04
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Juncaceae
genus Juncus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Juncus usitatus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Juncus usitatus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Scroll Belt present native
Robinvale Plains present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory