Bulrush (Scirpus hattorianus)

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Bulrush

Top facts

  • The bulrush has been found growing at elevations up to 800 metres.
  • Hattori Yasuyoshi, a Japanese botanist, first described this species, hence the specific part of the scientific name, hattorianus.
  • The genus name of the bulrush, Scirpus, means ‘bulrush’ in Latin.
  • The Japanese population of the bulrush is thought to have been introduced from North America.
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Bulrush fact file

Bulrush description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderPoales
FamilyCyperaceae
GenusScirpus (1)

The name of the genus to which the bulrush (Scirpus hattorianus) belongs, Scirpus, means ‘bulrush’ in Latin. Hattori Yasuyoshi, a Japanese botanist, first described this species, hence the specific part of the scientific name, hattorianus (3).

The bulrush grows in dense tufts or clumps (4) (5) from short rhizomes (5) (6). On each stem there are between three and nine leaves (4) which may be flat or slightly rolled at the edges (2). The highly branched inflorescences (6) are positioned at the tip of the stem and each branch has 4 to 55 ‘spikelets’, which are dense clusters of small flowers (4) that are black or brownish in this species (4) (6). The stems of this species may have a triangular or slightly oval cross-section (2).

Also known as
dark green bulrush, early dark-green bulrush, mosquito bulrush, smooth bulsedge.
Size
Height: up to 150 cm (2)
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Bulrush biology

Very little is known about the biology of the bulrush, although this species is known to fruit in late spring or early summer, with most growth occurring between June and early July (4). It is perennial, therefore individuals of this species usually live for over two years (5). The bulrush is known to occasionally hybridise with multiple other Scirpus species (4).

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Bulrush range

The range of the bulrush includes much of the United States and Canada. There is a population of this species in Japan, although it is non-native (2) (4).

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Bulrush habitat

The bulrush is usually found in moist meadows, marshes, ditches or disturbed habitats (2) (4). This species occurs up to elevations of 800 metres (4).

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Bulrush status

The bulrush has not yet been assessed by the IUCN.

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Bulrush threats

There are not currently known to be any threats to the bulrush.

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Bulrush conservation

There are not currently known to be any specific conservation measures in place for the bulrush, although it is listed as endangered in Illinois (7).

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Find out more

Find out more about North American plant conservation:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ scientific species name; the second part is the specific name.
Hybridisation
Cross-breeding between two different species or subspecies.
Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of a plant, which bears a group or cluster of flowers.
Perennial
A plant that normally lives for more than two years. After an initial period, the plant usually produces flowers once a year.
Rhizome
An underground, horizontal plant stem that produces roots and shoots.
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References

  1. Catalogue of Life (December, 2013)
    http://www.catalogueoflife.org/
  2. New England Wild Flower Society - Scirpus hattorianus (May, 2014)
    https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/scirpus/hattorianus/
  3. University of Wisconsin- Scirpus hattorianus (May, 2014)
    http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=SCIHAT
  4. Flora of North America - Scirpus hattorianus (May, 2014)
    http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=242357966
  5. Mohlenbrock, R.H. (1976) Sedges: Cyperus to Sceria. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois.
  6. Mohlenbrock, R.H. (2005) Cyperceae: Sedges. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois.
  7. United States Department of Agriculture - Scirpus hattorianus (May, 2014)
    http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=SCHA3
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Image credit

Bulrush  
Bulrush

© Maine Natural History Observatory

Glen Mittelhauser
http://www.mainenaturalhistory.org

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