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A tall, stout sedge found in large ponds and along slow moving rivers with muddy bottoms.



Bulrush: looking for Moses?

Post date: Friday, 5 September, 2014 - 00:00

I suppose many of us who are 'of an age' were given a King James Bible when we started school and I remember mine had an illustration of Moses in the bulrushes with the bulrushes clearly having tall stems with long, bulbous tops. As a result, when I am out leading a walk and we pass a pond someone will inevitably say "Ooh! Look, bulrushes!". Being the know-all that I am I can cleverly point out than in fact they are not bulrushes but reed-mace!

The true bulrush (Schoenopletus lacustris) is a tall, spiky plant with a small clustered flower at the top. They grow, usually in large colonies, in the silty margins of slow moving rivers and also in fresh water ponds and lakes where there is a deep layer of mud at the bottom. They produce their small flowers from June until August.

If I am less pedantic for a moment I will acknowledge that although the name bulrush is reserved for this particular species in most field guides it is accepted that bulrush can be used as a vernacular term to cover rushes and sedges. However, reed-mace is neither so it is wrong to call it bulrush! I need to find out who did that illustration and put them right!


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Bulrush
Alternative Name(s) Common Club-rush
Scientific Name Schoenopletus lacustris
Interest Level
Species Family Sedges
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
FS: Slow moving rivers Associated
FL: Lakes and reservoirs Associated