Open the Advanced Search

Three-flowered Rush

Juncus triglumis

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Juncaceae (Rush)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, marshes, meadows, mountains, rocky places, wetland.

Brown, no petals
A small, tight, brown, oval flowerhead. The bracts are shorter than the flowers themselves. Two-flowered Rush (Juncus biglumis) is a similar species but has bracts which just about overtop the flowerheads. 6 stamens.
Small brown, pointed nuts, up to 7mm in length. Many-seeded.
A loosely tufted, grass-like perennial with basal leaves up to 10cm (4 inches) long. Stem leaves are absent.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Juncus triglumis, also known as "three-flowered rush," is a species of rush plant in the family Juncaceae. It is native to North America, Europe and Asia, and can be found in a variety of wetland habitats such as bogs, fens, and wet meadows. It typically grows to be about 1-2 feet tall and has narrow, dark green leaves that are arranged in a spiral pattern on the stem. The flowers are small, greenish, and are arranged in clusters of three at the top of the stem, which gives it its common name. J. triglumis is a perennial plant and is used for ornamental and wetland restoration purposes. It is a small to medium-sized species of rush that is often overlooked or mistaken for grass. It's considered as a rare plant in some regions.


Juncus triglumis, commonly known as Three-flowered Rush, is a small herbaceous plant that belongs to the family Juncaceae. This plant is native to North America and can be found in various habitats, including wet meadows, marshes, and the banks of streams and lakes.

The Three-flowered Rush is a perennial plant that grows to a height of 15-40 cm. It has a slender, erect stem that is light green in color and is often glabrous. The leaves are basal and arise from the stem at the base of the plant. They are long and narrow, measuring 3-7 mm wide and up to 20 cm in length. The leaves are also light green and have a slightly keeled shape.

One of the distinguishing features of Juncus triglumis is its inflorescence. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are arranged in clusters of three at the top of the stem. The flowers are surrounded by bracts that are similar in length to the flowers. The flowers themselves are greenish-yellow in color and lack petals, with six sepals instead. They bloom from May to July and are pollinated by wind and insects.

After flowering, Juncus triglumis produces small, oblong fruits that are about 3 mm long. The fruit contains small, black seeds that are dispersed by the wind.

The Three-flowered Rush is an important plant for wetland conservation and restoration. It is often used in wetland mitigation projects because it can help to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. It also provides important habitat for wetland birds and other wildlife.

In addition, Juncus triglumis has some traditional medicinal uses. The plant has been used by indigenous people to treat a variety of ailments, including stomachaches and skin conditions. It is also used in some modern herbal remedies.

Overall, Juncus triglumis is a fascinating plant that is both ecologically important and culturally significant. Its delicate beauty and resilience make it an important component of wetland ecosystems and a valuable addition to any natural landscape.

One of the interesting aspects of Juncus triglumis is its adaptability to different wetland habitats. It can tolerate both temporary and permanent inundation and can thrive in both acidic and alkaline soils. This versatility allows the plant to be a valuable component of wetland ecosystems, as it can help stabilize the soil, prevent erosion, and provide important habitat for wetland wildlife.

In terms of its ecology, Juncus triglumis has a number of interesting adaptations that help it survive in wetland environments. For example, its narrow leaves and slender stem help reduce wind resistance, which is important in habitats that are often windy. Additionally, its ability to tolerate inundation allows it to thrive in areas that are prone to flooding or have high water tables.

As mentioned earlier, Juncus triglumis has some traditional medicinal uses. The plant contains compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which may explain its effectiveness in treating stomachaches and skin conditions. Some people also use the plant to make tea, which is said to have a mild, earthy flavor.

Despite its many benefits, Juncus triglumis is facing a number of threats. Wetland loss and degradation due to human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and development have significantly reduced the plant's natural habitat. In addition, invasive plant species, such as Phragmites australis and purple loosestrife, can outcompete Juncus triglumis and other native wetland plants, further threatening the plant's survival.

To protect Juncus triglumis and other wetland species, it is important to preserve and restore wetland habitats. This can be done through a variety of measures, including wetland conservation easements, restoration projects, and regulations that protect wetlands from development and other human activities.

Another interesting aspect of Juncus triglumis is its ability to survive in low-nutrient environments. This plant has a unique adaptation called aerenchyma, which is a system of air spaces in the stem that allows for the exchange of gases between the roots and the atmosphere. This adaptation allows the plant to access oxygen even when the roots are submerged in water, which is essential for survival in wetland environments.

Juncus triglumis is also important for its role in carbon sequestration. Wetland plants, including Juncus triglumis, have the ability to absorb large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their biomass and the soil. This makes wetlands important for mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to its ecological importance, Juncus triglumis has a rich cultural history. The plant has been used by Native American tribes for a variety of purposes, including basket weaving, thatching, and as a source of food. The plant was also used medicinally to treat a variety of ailments, including stomachaches, diarrhea, and sore throats.

Today, Juncus triglumis is still used in some traditional crafts, such as basket weaving, and is valued for its ornamental beauty. The plant's delicate flowers and slender leaves make it a popular choice for wetland gardens and naturalistic landscapes.

In conclusion, Juncus triglumis is a remarkable plant with many important ecological and cultural values. Its adaptability to wetland environments, ability to sequester carbon, and cultural significance make it an essential component of wetland ecosystems and a valuable addition to any natural landscape. Protecting and restoring wetland habitats is critical to ensuring the survival of Juncus triglumis and other wetland species for future generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map