Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Bighead Rush - Juncus megacephalus   M.A. Curtis
Members of Juncaceae:
Members of Juncus with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 5 » Order Juncales » Family Juncaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
AuthorM.A. Curtis
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain, Outer Banks, and barrier islands -- essentially within 50 miles of the coast.

Coastal Plain, MD to southern FL and southeastern TX.
AbundanceFrequently encountered -- fairly common to often common. The State Rank should be moved to S4.
HabitatMoist sandy soil of interdune marshes and ponds, margins of brackish marshes, fresh-tidal marshes, freshwater marshes, roadside ditches.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-August.
IdentificationBighead Rush usually grows 2-3 feet tall, with a fairly compact (not widely open) inflorescence of chestnut-colored, round heads. Manyhead Rush (J. polycephalus) also has reddish-brown heads, but its inflorescence is much more open, and its lower stem leaf blades are generally flattened laterally (versus round in cross-section).
Taxonomic CommentsNone

NOTE on Juncus: These "grasslike" or "sedgelike" plants occur in most habitats, especially where moist or wet. They can immediately be told from grasses and sedges by the presence of 6 tepals (petal-like) that surround the fruit. These tepals can be thought of as analogous to sepals and petals of, say, lilies or trilliums. Most species have brown, chestnut, or reddish tepals and dark brown fruits. The flowers occur in few- to many-flowered heads. Leaves are nearly all basal and round in cross-section. Stems are unbranched, except for the inflorescence. Fruits are termed capsules and contain many tiny seeds.
Other Common Name(s)Large-headed Rush
State RankS3? [S4]
Global RankG4G5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieMaritime wet grassland, S of Buxton, June 2012. DareBILPhoto_natural
Select a source
Select an occurrence type