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Species Notebook:

  • Toad Rush

    • Toad Rush: but no rushing toads

      Post date: Friday, 19 September, 2014 - 00:00

      I like to know why plants have the names that they do so why toad rush (Juncus bufonius)? My usual source of knowledge on such matters is Wikipedia but, alas, that is of no use this time; it gives no help at all! In general, scientific names for common species were allocated three or four hundred years ago and so this plant has been know as toad rush for a long long time (bufo meaning toad). One can only surmise that this being a plant of damp places one often found toads in the same place? I am not totally convinced by that presumption.

      Toad rush is a small plant growing no bigger than six inches tall. It has very fine, branched stems with small florets emerging along the branches. It grows in clusters and can be widespread where it occurs causing it to be considered an obnoxious weed in some agricultural settings and it can be hard to control once established.

      Toad rush is very common on bare, moist soils of path edges, arable land and pond banks. The flowers are present from May through until September. There are several very similar species, very difficult to tell apart unless you are an experienced botanist. Toad rush suffices as a generic label for the group.


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