Hard rush

Hard rush

Scientific name: Juncus inflexus
The stiff, spiky and upright leaves and brown flowers of hard rush are a familiar sight of wetlands, riversides, dune slacks and marshes across England and Wales.

Species information


Height: up to 1m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The grey-green, rigid stems of hard rush are a distinctive feature of damp ground, such as wet grassland, riversides, dune slacks and marshes. These stems were used for basket-making and weaving in times past, but are thought to be poisonous to livestock. The brown flowers of hard rush appear from May to July.

How to identify

Hard rush has tall, rigid, grey-green stems without leaves; they are stiffer and more brittle than those of the similar Soft rush. Its brown flowers are borne in loose clusters.


Mainly found in England and Wales, scarce elsewhere.

Did you know?

Hard rush can produce as many as 200,000 seeds per plant, which are dispersed by the wind. As with many sedges and rushes, it can spread also using rhizomes (underground stems).

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.