The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Matting Rush

Afrikaans name: Duinebiesie

Matting Rush plants

Photo © Steven Herbert

Juncus kraussii

The Matting Rush is an important plant for two reasons. Firstly, it is robust and helps protect our wetlands and secondly it is widely used for weaving mats of various kinds, baskets, and a whole range of other useful items, as well as products for sale at curio markets. Sleeping mats made from the Matting Rush are a traditional Zulu wedding gift.

This plant grows to a height of around 1.5 metres and grows in abundance where-ever it is found. The Matting Rush is found along virtually the whole of South Africa’s coastline where it can be found up to an altitude of 1,200 metres. It is only absent from the Northern Cape coastline.

The Matting Rush gets purplish brown flowers during summer. The leaves are round, and spine tipped.

The Matting Rush is used by many gardeners as a decorative plant. Care should be taken to remove weeds between the plants by hand as weedkillers will also kill the Matting Rush. Make sure that the plants receive a lot of water. They do not have many pests that will attack them but keep livestock out of them!

References and further reading

Two Oceans - Author: Branch, Griffiths, Branch and Beckley - Published: 2010 - Page: 422

The Beach Book - Author: Jerry Gosnell - Published: 2011 - Page: 104

The Coastal Guide of South Africa - Author: Jacana Media - Published: 2007 - Page: 112

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 288

A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast - Author: R. Lubke, F. Gess & M. Bruton - Published: 1988 - Page: 182

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 570

A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast - Author: R. Lubke, F. Gess & M. Bruton - Published: 1988 - Page: 136


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