Soft Rush - Juncus effusus
Soft rush, also known as common rush grass, is a perennial herbaceous species of sedge or grass and is found in the majority of the United States and several regions of Canada. However, it is a cosmopolitan species that also persists in various countries such as the United Kingdom, most of Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and has even been naturalized by people in Australia and Madagascar. It grows most optimally in moist regions, such as wetlands, riparian zones, stream beds, and marshes. This species of sedge grows in clumps that range up to about five feet in height at the most, allowing it to provide ample cover and protection for small mammals and other organisms. It is prevalent in USDA zones 4-9 and thrives in full sun exposure, in addition to moist soil conditions. It is an ideal plant choice for rain gardens and borders of water zones such as ponds or rivers. Soft rush has been historically utilized by humans in cultures such as the Japanese, which made hats and various teas out of the plant, as well as Europe where it was used to make cheap, effective alternatives to candles. Aside from being grown around water-based environments (and effectively preventing substantial soil erosion) and utilized in habitat restoration projects, soft rush does not have many ornamental or environmental adaptations that comply with most gardeners or farmers. It does not provide much food to livestock and it most useless for agricultural purposes. Soft rushes are oftentimes grown in tubs that have previously been sunk in mud with intents of controlling unwanted rhizome spread and enhance growth productivity. In spite of its preference for abundantly moisturized conditions, this species will perform very well in the typical garden setting so long as they receive consistent irrigation from the grower.