Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Juncus ensifolius Wikst.
- Family: Rush (Juncaceae)
- Flowering: July-August
- Field Marks: This rush has narrowly winged, flattened stems and bracts that are more than half the length of the inflorescence.
- Habitat: Along streams, in marshes.
- Habit: Perennial herb with creeping rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, flattened, narrowly winged, unbranched, up to 2 feet tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Most of the leaves near the base of the plant, flattened and folded along the
mid-vein, up to 15 inches long, up to 1/3 inch wide, partially septate, smooth.
- Flowers: 4-25 borne in heads, the heads arranged in a panicle; each head spherical to
hemispherical, up to 1/2 inch across, pale brown to dark brown to purple-black.
- Sepals: 3, free from each other, up to 1/6 inch long, pointed at the tip.
- Petals: 3, free from each other, up to 1/6 inch long, slightly shorter than the sepals, pointed at the tip.
- Stamens: 3 or 6.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, smooth.
- Fruits: Capsules oblongoid, up to 1/6 inch long, about as long as the sepals and petals, rounded at the tip or with a short point, smooth.
- Notes: This is an extremely variable species. Some plants have 3 stamens per flower,
others have 6; some have few-flowered heads, others have many flowers; some have dark
brown sepals and petals, others have light brown. The seeds are eaten by waterfowl.
Previous Species -- Drummond's Rush (Juncus drummondii)
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