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A large, wild population of taper-tip rush (Juncus acuminatus) beside a pond. One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Close-up of a stem of taper-tip rush (Juncus acuminatus) covered in flower clusters. One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Close-up of the reddish flower cluster of taper-tip rush (Juncus acuminatus). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Taper-tip Rush

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Juncus acuminatus

Taper-tip rush is an evergreen raingarden superstar that will add year-round interest and structure to your garden. Its soft, vibrant green foliage forms a hardly, low-maintenance clumping groundcover with exceptional habitat benefits in sunny wet areas. The flower cluster is an open array of up to 20 teensy-weensy green to reddish-brown inflorecences, like a firework display for all the lovely, industrious ants that call a habitat garden home. 

  • Plant type/canopy layer: evergreen, perennial, herbaceous plant
  • Size at maturity: 18-36" tall, 12-24" wide
  • Light requirements: full sun
  • Moisture requirements: moist to wet soil
  • Bloom time: June - Aug
  • Growth rate/ease: medium growth rate, easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: overall plant attracts and supports beneficial and pest eating insects and is a caterpillar host plant and larval food source for many native moth species; seeds are enjoyed by birds and small mammals
  • Native habitat/range: common in wet meadows, wet prairies, in ditches and along shores and swales, from sea level to 1300m, across much of North and Central America (except a couple of the more dry dry, central states/providences). Portland Plant List - yes.  
  • Special features & uses: evergreen; wildlife favorite; landscape uses include wet meadows and raingardens/bioswales and erosion control

Gardening with Taper-tip Rush: If you’re looking for groundcover that is low-maintenance that will control erosion and provide year-round structure and habitat in your wet meadow or the bottom layer of a raingarden, look no further. These fuss-free plant will tolerate all soil types and pretty much any drainage, including seasonal flooding to standing water, provided its getting the moisture and sun it needs.  

Photo Credit 1: "File:Starr-110929-9874-Juncus acuminatus-seedhead-Hanaula-Maui (24821854440).jpg" by Forest and Kim Starr is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Photo Credit 2: "Juncus acuminatus (sharp-fruited rush), Smithfield, RI" by Doug_McGrady is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Photo Credit 3: "File:Starr-110929-9873-Juncus acuminatus-habit in reservoir-Hanaula-Maui (25024210461).jpg" by Forest and Kim Starr is licensed under CC BY 3.0.