Richardson's rush (Juncus alpinus)

Richardson's rush

Top facts

  • Richardson’s rush is relatively wide-ranging in Canada and the United States, including British Columbia, Quebec, Washington and Illinois, and is also found in Eurasia.
  • A perennial herb, Richardson’s rush is known to flower each year between June and September.
  • Richardson’s rush typically occurs on wet, sandy shores and marshes.
  • Although Richardson’s rush is a relatively widespread species, it is classified as endangered in Illinois and as threatened in Pennsylvania and Maine.
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Richardson's rush fact file

Richardson's rush description

GenusJuncus (1)


A member of the Juncaceae family (3), Richardson’s rush (Juncus alpinus) is a perennial (2) (4) herb which is tufted and somewhat variable in appearance (2). This species grows from short, creeping rhizomes, and reaches heights of about 50 centimetres (2), producing 1 or 2 leaves (4) (5) (6). These leaves are slender and grow stiff and erect (6), reaching lengths of around 18 centimetres (2).

The flowers of Richardson’s rush are greenish or brown (2) (3), and grow in branched clusters (2) (6) known as cymes (6). These cymes have a few elongate branches onto which the flowers are attached either directly or by a stalk (2) (4) (6). Each inflorescence of Richardson’s rush has between two and nine flowers (4).

The fruit of the Richardson’s rush is a pale to dark brown capsule (2) (4) which is shiny, relatively thick and has slightly concave sides (2). This species produces numerous dark brown seeds with pointed ends and a ridge along one side (2).

Also known as
northern green rush.
Juncus acutiflorus var. alpinus, Juncus alpinoarticulatus, Juncus alpinus australis, Juncus fuscoater var. minor, Juncus mucroniflorus, Juncus sosnowskyi.
Stem height: 5 - 50 cm (2)

Richardson's rush biology

There is little information available on the biology of Richardson’s rush. However, this perennial species is known to grow from short, creeping rhizomes (6), and flowers between June or July and September (2) (5).


Richardson's rush range

Richardson’s rush is found in Canada from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (3) to British Columbia (4), and in northern and central United States, including Alaska, Colorado, Nebraska, Indiana and Illinois (7). This species is also known to occur in Eurasia (4).


Richardson's rush habitat

Richardson’s rush occurs on wet, sandy shores (4) and marshes (4) (5), as well as sandbars (2) (5) and occasionally in shallow water (5).


Richardson's rush status

Richardson’s rush has yet to be classified by the IUCN.


Richardson's rush threats

There are currently no known major threats to Richardson’s rush. However, this species is classified as endangered in Illinois and as threatened in Maine and Pennsylvania (7).


Richardson's rush conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place at present for Richardson’s rush.


Find out more

Find out more about plant conservation in North America:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



A small, non-woody, seed bearing plant in which all the aerial parts die back at the end of each growing season.
The reproductive shoot of a plant, which bears a group or cluster of flowers.
A plant that normally lives for more than two years. After an initial period, the plant usually produces flowers once a year.
An underground, horizontal plant stem that produces roots and shoots.


  1. ITIS and Species 2000 Catalogue of Life (May, 2014)
  2. Reaume, T. (2009) 620 Wild Plants of North America: Fully Illustrated. University of Regina Press, Saskatchewan, Canada.
  3. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin (May, 2014)
  4. Mohlenbrock, R.H. (2006) The Flowering Plants: Flowering Rush to Rushes. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois.
  5. Mohlenbrock, R.H. (2006) Filicineae, Gymnospermae and Other Monocots Excluding Cyperaceae: Ferns, Conifers, and Other Monocots Excluding Sedges. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois.
  6. Hultén, E. (1968) Flora of Alaska and Neighboring Territories: A Manual of the Vascular Plants. Stanford University Press, Redwood City, California.
  7. United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service: Northern green rush (May, 2014)

Image credit

Richardson's rush  
Richardson's rush

© Maximilian Dehling

Maximilian Dehling


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