Ernst Julius Rusch, farmer and business man, was the son of Franz Mathias Rusch and his wife Ernestine Amalie, born Grey. He came to Namibia as a volunteer soldier in January 1890. He married Angelika Aurelie Selma Jobst, with whom he had eleven children. He settled on the Farm Lichtenstein, near Windhoek, where he cultivated succulent plants and later started a nursery. As one of the founders of Windhoek he was given the freedom of the city on his 60th birthday.
The botanist M.K. Dinter* often visited Rusch and brought him succulents to cultivate. Rusch and his son, Ernst Franz Theodor Rusch (1897-1964) often collected plants together. The vygie genus Ruschia (fam. Aizoaceae) and the species Conophytum ruschi, Dipcadi ernesti-ruschi and Anacampseros ruschii were named in his honour by G. Schwantes and Dinter, while Lithops ruschiorum commemorates both father and son. Specimens collected by the elder Rusch were added to Dinter's herbarium.