Friday 17 May
Bulrush (Typha latifolia)
Bulrush fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
The bulrush was termed 'reedmace' by botanists until the 1970s, but the common English name 'bulrush’'has since been accepted (4). This robust species grows up to 2.5 m in height, and has linear leaves (2). The most characteristic feature of this plant, however, is the distinctive, dark brown busby-like flowering head (4), known as a 'spadix' (2). The individual flowers are tiny, closely packed and surrounded by slender hairs; female flowers, which produce seeds, are situated towards the bottom of the spadix, the male flowers are located towards the top, and in this species the male and female regions of the spadix are touching (2).
- Also known as
- Reedmace. Top
- Plants that live for at least three seasons; after an initial period they produce flowers once a year.
- Vegetative reproduction
- Type of asexual reproduction (reproduction without recombination of genetic material) that results in the propagation of plants using only the vegetative tissues such as leaves or stems. The resulting plant is genetically identical to the original plant. A well-known example of this is the reproduction of strawberry plants from 'runners'.
- National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (Feb 2003): http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
- Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. & Moore, D.M. (1987) Flora of the British Isles. 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Preston, C.D., Pearman, D.A. & Dines, T.D. (2002) The New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Mabey, R. (1996) Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
- Plantlife: common plant survey species (Feb 2003): http://www.plantlife.org.uk/html/commun_com_plant_list.htm
- Ulster Museum- Flora of Northern Ireland (Feb 2003): http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/flora/default.htm?item=2369
- Plantlife: common plant survey information (Feb 2003): http://www.plantlife.org.uk/html/commun_survey_intro.htm
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
The bulrush is a perennial species (3), which flowers in June and July (5); the seed heads begin to break up in autumn, and the downy seeds are dispersed by the wind (6). The bulrush colonises new sites in this way, after which it spreads by vegetative reproduction(3). The flowering spikes may persist until November (1).
There have been very few uses of the bulrush in Britain, however in Nevada (USA) the Paiute Indians based their whole economy on this species; the yellow pollen was used as flour, and the stems and leaves were used to make boats (4).Top
The bulrush is widespread in Britain, but is less common in the north and west (2). It seems to have increased in frequency during the 20th Century and is more common in Scotland, Wales and northern England than it was in the 1960s; the reasons for this increase are not yet clear (3). It has a broad global distribution, being found from the Arctic Circle to 30°S, with the exception of central and southern Africa, south Asia, Australia and Polynesia (2).Top
Grows on mud or in shallow water at the margins of lakes, ditches, ponds and canals, and less commonly beside streams and rivers. It shows a preference for sites that are rich in nutrients (3).Top
Common and widespread (3).Top
Not threatened at present.Top
Conservation action is not needed for this common species. Plantlife has included the bulrush in its Common Plant Survey. This survey aims to determine the status of 65 common plant species in Britain, in order to understand how these species are faring in the countryside and to effectively monitor changes in their populations (7).Top
Find out more
For more information on British plants and their conservation see Plantlife- the wild plant conservation charity:
For more on the Plantlife Common Plants Survey see:
Visit the website of the Botanical Society of the British Isles at:
AuthenticationThis information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: email@example.comTop
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.