New Jersey Rush

Juncus caesariensis

Rushes are often confused with grasses and sedges because of superficial similarities, but they are quite distinct. The tiny flowers of rushes are similar in structure to those of the lilies. There are three sepals and three petals that all look alike, and the fruit is a capsule. There are about twenty species of rushes that may be found in the Pinelands region.

New Jersey Rush is a globally rare plant. According to NatureServe, “The species reaches its greatest abundance in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Outside of this area, it is restricted to isolated occurrences in Maryland and Virginia, with disjunct populations in Nova Scotia and North Carolina. The species is highly vulnerable to loss of its wetland habitats through degradation and destruction.”

New Jersey Rush looks a lot like Common Rush (Juncus canadensis). If you are in a characteristic Pine Barrens wetland and you run across a plant that looks like Common Rush, check the texture of the leaves. The leaves of New Jersey Rush are distinctly rough, something like very fine sandpaper.

Duration: Perennial

Flower: July to October

Habitat: Wetlands. Open sphagnum bogs, streamside savannas, cedar swamps.

State Rank: S2

Global Rank: G2

Key to Ranks/Codes

Natural Heritage Program: Special Plants of New Jersey

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