Chumash: mexmey̓ (syǝt) Español: Junco
Plant Type: Rush
Height by Width: 5-6' H x spreading
Growth Habit: Upright, tall, spreading
Growth Rate: Fast
Sun Exposure: Sun to part sun
Water Requirements: Moderate to regular
Cold Hardy to: 20 degrees F
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: Brownish
Juncus textilis is a species of rush known by the common name basket rush. It is endemic (native) to California, where it grows along the coast and in the coastal mountain ranges of the southern half of the state. This species of rush has been used historically and is still being used today for basket weaving by several Native American peoples of southern California, such as the Cahuilla, Kumeyaay, and Chumash, among others.
The rush was valued for its varied colors, from deep red to sun-dried tan; the stems were dyed black or yellow with sea plants. This dye is very penetrating, and the color is durable, but has a fetid, disagreeable smell. Rush seeds are eaten by waterfowl, songbirds, and small mammals such as jackrabbits, cottontails, muskrats, porcupines, and gophers.