Scientific Name: Juncus tenuis

Common Name: poverty rush

Other Common Names: wiregrass, slender yard rush, field rush, path rush, poverty rush

Synonyms: Juncus macer, Juncus tenuis var. multicornis, Juncus tenuis var. williamsii

Habit: A grass-like plant that grows in clumps. Most growth occurs in summertime along with flower and seed production.

Leaves: Seedling leaves are grass-like and have white auricles. Leaves arise at the base of plants and are flat on the ends but the margins roll inward until the leaf is almost round and hollow as it folds in on itself. Ligules are absent but auricles are papery like a ligule. The auricles are ear-like extensions.

Identifying Characteristics: Leaf-like bracts that extend beyond the flowering cluster and hollow stems.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers are borne on long stems that are round, hollow, wiry, and dark green. Flowers occur from June through August and are produced in clusters (cymes) near the ends of the stems. Two (up to 10 in long) leaf-like bracts often extend beyond the flower cluster. Flowers are small, greenish brown (2.8-5 mm long), with lanceolate sepals and petals (3 each).

Seed Fruit: Fruit are egg-shaped capsules (2.6-4.2 mm long) that split into 3 sections at maturity. Seeds are small (0.5 mm or smaller in length) and orange-brown.

Where Found: Slender rush is a weed of turfgrass, landscapes, and nursery crops, especially along paths and in gravel or stone driveways and roads. It also grows in pastures, meadows, and waste places, on both moist and dry sites. It is particularly successful in compacted soils. It is native to all 50 states.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass-like

  • Auricle: present

  • Plant family: Juncaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: none

  • Length: none

  • Seed head: flowers

  • Width: less than 5 mm

  • Grass stem: round