‘Big Twister’ Rush
Juncus effusus L. is a correct and accepted scientific name for a species of Juncus. It was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. The genus name was first named and described in the same publication as well as several of the other species in the genus…
Plants of the World Online by Kew currently lists 329 accepted species in the genus Juncus. (As of 1/20/19 when I am updating this page.). There were 348 the last time I updated this page… Well, POWO is still uploading data and botanists are dealing with a lot of name changes. Version 1.1 of The Plant List in 2013 said there were 348 accepted species (plus 45 infraspecific names) a total of 1,482 synonyms, and 36 unresolved names.
I bought my ‘Big Twister’ Rush from Lowe’s in Greenville Mississippi in 2009 while living at the mansion in Leland. The label further stated the species is Juncus effusus.
There are other cultivars of curly rush available such as Juncus decipiens ‘Cury-Wurly’. In the wild, plants can have a spiral pattern but not necessarily. Juncus effusus and Juncus decipiens are very similar.
I did a search for Juncus effusus ‘Big Twister’ and besides the usual from several sellers was an entry from the Missouri Botanical Garden for Juncus effusus f. spiralis. Plants of the World Online lists five accepted infraspecific names which are all subspecies of Juncus effusus but no “f. spiralis”. So, I went to the 2013 version of The Plant List, even though it is no longer maintained. Low and behold I found Juncus effusus f. spiralis listed as a synonym. A synonym of what, I asked? It is a synonym of Juncus decipiens… The CORKSCREW RUSH!
The Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder lists 13 species and cultivars of Juncus including a Juncus effusus, Juncus effusus f. spiralis, Juncus effusus ‘Quartz Creek’, and Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’.
There are several websites selling BOTH Juncus effusus ‘Big Twister’ and Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’. ‘Curly-wurly’ is also listed as ‘Curly Wurly’, ‘Curly-Wurly’, etc. Same plant different sites. Dave’s Garden also lists both plants.
When I compared Juncus effusus ‘Big Twister’ with Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’ (or whatever you call it), they have very similar characteristics. Same hardiness zones, same size, etc.
The Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder also lists a Juncus effusus ‘Quartz Creek’ which is also listed as a Corkscrew Rush. While ‘Big Twister’ and ‘Curly-wurly’ grow to a height of 12”, this cultivar grows to 3 feet!
Juncus decipiens (Buchenau) Nakai is also a correct and accepted scientific name in this genus. It was named and described as such by Takenoshin (Takenosin) Nakai in Rep. Veg. or just Veg. Kamikochi in 1928. I could not find the full title without abbreviations.
Juncus effusus is native to many parts of the world, including most of the United States (in fact, most of North America). Juncus decipiens is native to several countries and islands of Southeast Asia.
The Juncus genus is in the Juncaceae family along with seven other genera. Plants of the World Online lists 348 accepted species in this genus but only lists the infraspecific names as you click on each species. The Plant List has them all listed on one page with charts. The Plant List is no longer maintained and Plants of the World Online is fairly new and still uploading data. I am confident this new website by Kew will only get better with time.
USEFUL INFORMATION FOR J. decipiens ‘Curly-wurly & J. effusus ‘Big Twister’
Origin: Check Plants of the World Online below
Zones: USDA Zones 4a-1ob (-30 to 35° F)
Size: Around 12” tall
Light: Sun to part shade
Water: Likes water and will grow in water
Uses: Ornamental grass, water gardens, containers
Maybe I better mention that Juncus is a type of grass, many species and cultivars being grown as an ornamental. They even grow in water making them great grasses for water gardens and fish pools. I did not grow mine in water and it survived for four summers while I was in Mississippi. I forgot and left it behind when I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013. Maybe someday I will buy another one.
One interesting thing about the ‘Big Twister’ Rush, whatever species it is, it that it grows every which direction, not straight up like the typical Juncus effusus. I really liked this plant because it has a lot of ornamental value.
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