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Crooked Run Valley
Rush (Family Juncaceae)
The Juncaceae, the Rush Family, is a family of flowering plants of
eight genera and about 400 species.
A cosmopolitan family, Junacaceae mainly found in cold North and
South temperate or tropical montane regions in wet or damp, occasion-
ally saline, habitats.
Members of the Juncaceae are slow-growing, rhizomatous, herb-
aceous plants, and they may superficially resemble grasses and sedges.
They often grow on infertile soils in a wide range of moisture condi-
tions. The most well- known and largest genus is Juncus. Most of the
Juncus species grow exclusively in wetland habitats. A few rushes
are annuals, but most are perennials.
The dried pith of plants of this family was used to make a type of
candle known as a rushlight.
The soft rush (Juncus effusus) is called igusa in Japanese and is used
to weave the soft surface cover of tatami mats.
In medieval Europe, loose fresh rushes would be strewn on earthen
floors in dwellings for cleanliness and insulation. Particularly favored
for such a purpose was Acorus calamus (sweet flag), but despite its
alternate vernacular name "sweet rush".