Latin Name: Juncus acutus
Origin: Native of Europe, Africa and North America.
Alternative Name(s): Sharp Rush.
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.
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.