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Vasey's Rush (Juncus vaseyi)

Life history

Species overview

Vasey's Rush (Juncus vaseyi), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in moist old fields, ditches, and prairies. It has been most commonly found on the Lake Superior clay plain. Blooming occurs early July through late August; fruiting occurs early August through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is early July through late August.

Synonyms: Juncus greenei var. vaseyi


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Seeds with pale tails at both ends, mostly 1 to 1.5 mm long overall.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence inverse pyramid-shaped, compact, 1 to 4 cm; flowers subtended by paired bracteoles; sepals 3.5 to 4.5 mm; petals 3.2 to 4.2 mm; anthers 6, about equal to the filaments.
  • Fruit characteristics: Triocular, 4.1 to 5.4 mm, truncate; seeds fusiform, becoming mucilaginous when wet, 0.5 to 0.8 mm, each end with a pale, slender tail or appendage usually 0.2 to 0.4 mm.
  • Leaf characteristics: Basal leaves very slender, terete or nearly so, to 3 cm.


  • Blooming phenology: early July through late August
  • Fruiting phenology: early August through early September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is early July through late August


  • Growth form: Graminoid
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Solidago canadensis, Poa pratensis, Aster lanceolatus, A. umbellatus, Carex castanea, Prunella vulgaris, Euthamia graminifolia, Phleum pratense.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Vasey's Rush (Juncus vaseyi). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Juncus vaseyi in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS3
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in moist old fields, ditches, and prairies. It has been most commonly found on the Lake Superior clay plain.
  • Soils: Moist, often sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Vasey's Rush. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Vasey's Rush. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).


Vasey's Rush Photo.

Photo © June Dobberpuhl.

Vasey's Rush Photo.

Photo by  staff, Wisconsin DNR.

Vasey's Rush Photo.

Photo by Ryan Magana, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition