Rushes are perennial or sometimes annual herbs with grass-like leaves. The leaf blades vary from round to flat. They may be hairy and may have transverse septa running across their width. The flowers usually have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts. The flowers are actinomophic (radially symmetrical), with small sepals and petals that are green, brown, or dark purple. The petals and sepals appear very similar to one another (and therefore, are called tepals) and occur in 2 separate whorls attaching beneath the ovary (i.e., the ovary is superior). There are 3 or 6 stamens. The compound ovary is comprised of 3 carpels and matures as a capsule that splits apart to release 3 or many seeds (depending on the genus).
This Family’s Genera in New England:
Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key