Soft Rush

Juncus effusus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Grasses
  3. Soft Rush

About

Soft Rush is a thin, tuft-forming rush that grows in wet woodlands, marshes, ditches and grasslands. It has smooth, green stems which can be easily peeled to produce the pith. Traditionally, this was soaked in fat and used in household lamps as wicks - it was a cheaper alternative to candlelight. This practice was revived during the Second World War in some rural areas.

How to identify

Tall, thin, smooth stems without leaves are one of the distinguishing features of Soft Rush. Its pale brown flowers are borne in loose, rounded clusters from May to July.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and development, has resulted in the disappearance of many of the UK's wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: add native flowers and plants, such as Soft Rush, to a wildlife-friendly pond and its margins, and provide shelter for amphibians and nectar for insects. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden.

Species information

Common name
Soft Rush
Latin name
Juncus effusus
Category
Grasses
Statistics
Height: up to 1.5m
Conservation status
Common.