Juncus tenuis Willd.

path rush

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Path rush is a ubiquitous rush found in a wide variety of open sites and frequently encountered along paths and trails. It was used by the Cherokee to make a wash to strengthen babies and by the Iroquois as an emetic to induce vomiting in athletes.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Stem shape in cross-section
the stem is round or oval in cross-section
Leaf blade width
0.5–1 mm
Leaf blade cross-section
the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
Inflorescence position
the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
Inflorescence branching
the inflorescence is branched
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is a capsule, with at least three seeds in it
Fruit length
3.3–4.7 mm
Leaf position on plant
the attachment points of all the leaves are at or near the base of the plant
Perianth composition
the perianth is green or brown, with six sepal-like parts, and a leafy texture
Fruit cross-section
the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther color (dry)
    the anthers range in color from white to tan or yellow to yellow-brown
    Anther length
    0.1–0.2 mm
    Floral bristle color
    NA
    Floral bristle number
    NA
    Floral bristle relative length
    NA
    Floral bristles
    NA
    Floral scale hairs
    NA
    Floral scale length
    0 mm
    Floral scale nerves
    NA
    Flower number per cluster
    • 5-20
    • more than 20
    Inflorescence bract angle
    the bracts are vertical or angled only slightly outwards
    Inflorescence bract number
    there are two to five bracts per inflorescence
    Inflorescence bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Inflorescence bracts
    there are at least two bracts, and they are either flat or folded or rolled in at the edges
    Inflorescence branching
    the inflorescence is branched
    Inflorescence crowding
    • the inflorescence is at least somewhat spread out, with at least one branch coming from the main stem
    • the inflorescence is crowded together in one tight cluster
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescence is at the tip of the plant
    Inflorescence shape
    the aggregations within the inflorescence are roughly circular (not flattened) in cross-section
    Inflorescence type
    there are two or more flowers, spikes or flower clusters on a branched inflorescence
    Perianth composition
    the perianth is green or brown, with six sepal-like parts, and a leafy texture
    Stamen length
    1–1.5 mm
    Stamen number
    4-6
    Stigma number
    3
    Style division
    the style is divided nearly from the base
    floral bristle barbs
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene beak length
    0 mm
    Achene surface texture
    NA
    Achene tubercle relative width
    NA
    Achene tubercle width
    0 mm
    Capsule relative length
    the capsule is about equal to the perianth
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is triangular to terete (circular) in cross-section
    Fruit length
    3.3–4.7 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is a capsule, with at least three seeds in it
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Locules in capsule
    • the capsule has one locule
    • the three internal walls do not meet in the center
    Seed length
    0.5–0.7 mm
    Seed tail relative length
    0.5–0.7 mm
    Seed tails
    there is no tail on the seeds
    Tubercle height
    0 mm
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Rhizome thickness
    Up to 1.5 mm
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Auricle length
    2–5 mm
    Auricle texture
    the auricles are weak, papery and translucent
    Auricles
    the leaf sheath has auricles on it
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is flat or rolled in at the edges
    Leaf blade length
    30–120 mm
    Leaf blade width
    0.5–1 mm
    Leaf form
    all the leaves hold their form out of water
    Leaf position on plant
    the attachment points of all the leaves are at or near the base of the plant
    Leaf septa
    the leaf blades do not have transverse septa
    Leaf sheath hairs
    the leaf sheathes are without hairs
    Pedicel length (Typha)
    0 mm
    Stem leaf blade ligules
    there are no ligules at the leaf blade bases
    Stem leaf blades
    there are fully-developed leaves with leaf blades on the main stem
    Width of seed-producing inflorescence
    10–50 mm
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Plant height
    15–50 cm
    Stem shape in cross-section
    the stem is round or oval in cross-section
    Stem texture near tip
    the stem feels smooth near the tip
    Stem thickness at midpoint
    Up to 1 mm

Wetland Status

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

var. tenuis

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Juncus anthelatus:
monochasial branches of inflorescence with internodes 6 mm or longer, tepals mostly 2.5–3.5 mm long, and capsules less than 75% of the length of the tepals (vs. J. tenuis, with monochasial branches of inflorescence with internodes less than 6 mm long, tepals mostly 3.5–4.5 mm, and capsules more than 75% of the length of the tepals).
Juncus dichotomus:
auricles scarious to cartilaginous, 0.2–0.6 mm long, and sheath margin of firmer texture, often brittle, nearly opaque (vs. J. tenuis, with auricles scarious, mostly 1.5–5 mm long, and sheath margin pliable, transparent).

Synonyms

  • Juncus macer S.F. Gray
  • Juncus tenuis var. williamsii Fern.

Family

Juncaceae

Genus

Juncus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

35.  Juncus tenuis Willd. N

path rush. Juncus macer S.F. Gray; J. tenuis Willd. var. williamsii Fern. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Wide variety of open sites and edges, ranging in hydrology from xeric to wet-mesic, including fields, disturbed lots, trail margins, ditches, and shorelines.

4×35. Juncus anthelatus × Juncus tenuis This rare hybrid has been collected from ME (Haines 2001a). It resembles Juncus anthelatus in its stature and tall inflorescence with long internodes. However, the internodes of the inflorescence are straight (rather than often curved or arching), and the capsules are more than 75% as long as the tepals (rather than shorter than 75% 
as long as the tepals).

35×38. Juncus tenuis × Juncus vaseyi Juncus ×‌oronensis Fern. is a historically occurring hybrid known from two separate locations in ME (Franklin and Penobscot Counties). It has caniculate leaf blades (i.e., terete with a channel on the upper surface), seeds 0.6–0.8 mm long with short white tails (the seeds of J. tenuis are mostly 0.6 mm or shorter and those of J. vaseyi are longer than 0.8 mm), and conspicuously secund flowers that mature as capsules shorter than the sharply pointed tepals.