Rush

Most rushes are grasslike, often with sheathing basal leaves, which are sometimes reduced to the sheaths alone. The flowers are small and rather drab. The family is geologically old, dating from the Cretaceous (144-66.4 million years ago).

Flowering Rush
(artwork by Claire Tremblay)

Rush

Rush (Juncaceae), family of herbaceous plants consisting of 8 genera and about 300 species. They are essentially temperate, and are usually found in wet habitats. Six genera with about 10 species occur only in the Southern Hemisphere. The 2 largest genera, the common rush, Juncus (225 species), and the wood rush, Luzula (80 species), are widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, though not entirely restricted to it. Rushes are represented in Canada by about 50 and 15 species, respectively, and are found all across the country, including the High Arctic.

Most rushes are grasslike, often with sheathing basal leaves, which are sometimes reduced to the sheaths alone. The flowers are small and rather drab. The family is geologically old, dating from the Cretaceous (144-66.4 million years ago). The rushes (or reeds) of the Bible are not rushes at all but Cyperus papyrus, a member of the SEDGE family.

See also GRASSES.


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