Juncus effusus

Soft rush

Also known as:

Common rush

Family: Juncaceae

Origin: Africa, Eurasia, North and South America

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Erect, clump-forming leafless rush < 1.2 m tall. Stems are soft, dark green-yellow, shiny, smooth, easily broken and taper from a broad base. Pith is spongy. Flowers are small, pale brown-green and borne in branched flowerhead. Seed capsules are shiny, flattened and pale brown.

What you need to know

Although soft rush is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.


Wet habitats, riparian margins, wetland, pasture, ditches.


Seeds dispersed by water and animals. Human-mediated dispersal through movement of contaminated soil and machinery.

Impact on environment

May outcompete and displace native plants.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds and rhizomes.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water in spring and summer.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant in spring and summer.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Soft rush in a big open field.
Within the stems of the rush is a white hairy substance called pith. This creates an open hollow cavity that allows oxygen to be held while the plant is in high water.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr
Close up of Soft Rush new stems.
Not a legally declared pest plant in Auckland but has the potential to be weedy. Tends to grow fast and can outcompete native rushes in wetlands.