Juncus effuses ‘Big Twister’/Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’-Corkscrew Rush

Juncus effuses ‘Big Twister’ on 5-1-09, #12-18.

Corkscrew Rush

Juncus effusus ‘Big Twister
Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’

Juncus effusus f. spiralis
Juncus effusus var. decipiens

YUNG-kus eff-YOO-sus
YUNG-kus de-SIP-ee-enz

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. I had no problems with that at the time because most information online says the same thing.

This is my third Belmont Rooster Blog and I have been getting down to the nitty gritty especially since many names have changed.

I did a species name search on Plants of the World Online and the photo did not show a plant with the “corkscrew” habit. I did an online search for Juncus effusus and a Missouri Botanical Garden entry for Juncus effusus showed the same thing. No spiral pattern. Wikipedia? The same thing.


Juncus effuses ‘Big Twister’ on 9-15-10, #59-16.

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 So, I went to the 2013 version of The Plant List, even though it is no longer maintained.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 of business 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. Now, interestingly, while The 2013 version of The Plant List says Juncus effusus f. spiralis is a synonym of Juncus decipiens, Dave’s garden also lists a synonym by the name of Juncus effusus var. decipiens

When I compared Juncus effusus ‘Big Twister’ with Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’ (or whatever you call it), they are the same. Same hardiness zones, same size, etc. So, folks… I think they are the same identical plant. In fact, the Missouri Botanical Garden, maybe without realizing it, has two separate pages with different names of the same plant… I believe their Juncus effusus f. spiralis and Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’ are the same plant.

One strange and interesting thing, though, is the listing on the Missouri Botanical Garden about the Juncus effusus ‘Quartz Creek’. It is spiral, it is listed as a corkscrew rush. While ‘Big Twister’ and ‘Curly-wurly’ grow to a height of 12”, this cultivar grows to 3 feet! San Marcos Growers list this cultivar as Juncus effusus ssp. pacificus, which is an accepted infraspecific name. Ummm. Dave’s Garden and several other sites also list this cultivar and it isn’t a corkscrew rush at all! I think Missouri Botanical Garden has the wrong photo. I sent the Missouri Botanical Garden an email, which I have done in the past with no reply. Let’s see if I get a reply this time. I will mark it on my calendar to see how many days it takes. Today is February 7, 2018…

But to make a long story short, which I could have done in the first place, Juncus effusus is NOT a species of Rush that grows in a spiral pattern. I have found no information online about Juncus decipiens with a photo except for the cultivar ‘Curly-wurly’. So, tell me, does the straight species Juncus decipiens grow in a spiral pattern? Is that why Juncus effusus f. spiralis is a synonym of Juncus decipiens? I asked that in the email, too.

The species Juncus effusus DOES NOT naturally grow in a spiral pattern. Interestingly enough, Monrovia and MANY other growers carry not only the ‘Big Twister’ Rush but also Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’… The Missouri Botanical garden also has this plant as does Dave’s Garden.

Makes me wonder if the Juncus effusus ‘Big Twister’ is really Juncus decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’. How could they get Juncus effusus to curl like Juncus decipiens anyway? Why would they need to when they had Juncus decipiens all the time?


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…

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.

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’
Family: Juncaceae
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
Soil: Ummm….
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.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can check out the links below for further reading.

(GENUS/ J. effusus/J. decipiens)
(GENUS/J. effusus)
(J. effusus/J. effusus f. spiralis/J. decipiens ‘Curly-wurly’/J. effusus ‘Quartz Creek’)
J. effusus ‘Big Twister’/J. decipiens ‘Curly Wurly’

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