Plants of
South Australia
Juncus usitatus (∗)
Juncaceae
Common Rush
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Juncus from the Latin 'jungere' meaning to tie or bind; referring to the use of the rushes for weaving and basketry. Usitatus from Latin meaning ordinary, useful; possible referring to its widespread distribution in the eastern states.

Distribution and status

Native to the Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria (and New Zealand and New Caledonia) and collected in the southern Mount Lofty, Murrayland and the upper South-east in South Australia, growing in riparian habitats, on stream banks and other moist places. Also introduced to Western Australia. Introduced. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Murray, Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Densely tufted perennial sedge to 120 cm high with short rhizomes and terete culms to 2 mm diameter, soft, green, with an interrupted pith, stem striations 25-40. Inflorescence a loose lateral panicle to 7 cm long with straw-brown flowers. Flowering between November and February. Fruits are clusters of golden brown ellipsoid capsules with numerous seeds. Seeds are tiny orange ovoid seed to 0.5 mm long and 0.2 mm wide, with fine reticulated surface. Seed embryo type is broad.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and March. Collect fruits either by picking off the mature heads, those turning brown and come-off easily or break-off the whole spikes. Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Be careful, as the seeds are very small. Seeds are brown and hard. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.