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Common Rush
Juncus patens
About Common Rush (Juncus patens) Nurseries Show All Photos Juncus patens is a species of grass-like plant known by the common name Common Rush. It is native to the western United States from Washington to California, and its range may extend into Mexico. Within California it is found primarily along the coastal and coastal mountain, in marshes and other wet areas. However, it can also be tolerant of summer drought and garden conditions. It is a perennial herb forming narrow, erect bunches of stems arising from a central clump. The stems are thin, gray-green, often somewhat waxy, and grooved, and grow 30 to 90 centimeters in maximum height. The leaves have no blades; they appear as brown sheaths around the base of the stems. The flower cluster sprouts from the side of the stem rather than its tip. It holds many flowers, each of which has short, narrow, pointed petals and six stamens. The fruit is a spherical red or brown capsule which fills and bulges from the dried flower remnants when mature. It is popular in somewhat formal gardens, water gardens, and restoration projects. There are several available cultivars including 'Carman's Grey', 'Elk blue' and 'Occidental Blue'.

This plant is tough and easy to grow. It is happy in areas that are damp year-round, but also looks good and healthy in fairly dry soils with only minimal irrigation in summer.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 3 ft (0.3 - 0.9 m)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)



Growth Rate


Flower Color
Red, Brown

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Usually found in moist areas such as stream banks, springs and seeps, but also occurs in areas of seasonal dryness such as ephemeral streams and ponds


Elevation ?
4' - 5053'

Annual Precip. ?
9.3" - 103.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.96"

Coldest Month ?
37.1° F - 55.7° F

Hottest Month ?
57.3° F - 78.2° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 26.20 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils

Soil PH
5.5 - 7.0

Slow, Standing

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Sunset Zones ?
4*, 5*, 7, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Use with other plants of moist areas, such as Indigo Bush (Amorpha fruticosa), Sagewort (Artemisia douglasiana), Mule Fat (Baccharis salicifolia), Dogwood (Cornus sp.), Sedge (Carex sp.), Currant/Gooseberry (Ribes sp.), wild Rose (Rosa sp.), willow (Salix sp.), and wild grape (Vitis sp.).

Butterflies ?


Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Bogs and Ponds, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Spreading Rush

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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