Spiny Rush

Latin Name: Juncus acutus

Weaving Spiny Rush in Africa

Weaving Spiny Rush in Africa

Origin: Native of Europe, Africa and North America.

Alternative Name(s): Sharp Rush.

Family: Juncaceae.

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, there is a report that one member of this genus is possibly toxic to mammals.

Habitat: Sandy sea shores and dune slacks, occasionally in salt marshes.

Edibility Rating: 0 (1-5)

Medicinal Rating: 0 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics: Shortly rhizomatous, tussocky perennial rush to 1.6 m high. Flowering stems and stem-like leaves arise from the base at varying angles giving the whole plant a characteristic globe shape. Fruit an ovoid 3-celled brown capsule. Seeds 1.2–2 mm long, brown.
Flowers: Flowering stems (culms) 2–4 mm wide. Inflorescence 4–13 cm long, consisting of clusters of 1–6 flowers; 1 or 2 leaf-like bracts 4–25 cm long at base of inflorescence. Stamens 6. Flowers throughout year but mostly spring and summer.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by pith-filled stems and leaves; leaves similar to flower stems and other leaves forming a basal sheath (cataphyll) around the flower stem; leaves and bracts terminate in a stiff sharp point; capsules 4–6 mm long; seed with a tail at each end.

Dispersal: Spread by seed. Much of the spread appears to be by seedcontaminated mud attached to vehicles and animals.

Edible Uses

None known

Spiny Rush

Medicinal Uses

None known

Other Uses

Seed heads, Wollombi, NSWBasketry; Thatching; Weaving. The stems are used in making woven baskets, thatching, weaving mats etc.

Notes: Widespread in damp places and infrequently inundated watercourses on the coast and inland. The sharp spines, that project at many angles, make it especially dangerous for children.

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