Scirpus americanus - Pers. American Bulrush

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Scirpus americanus - Pers. American Bulrush

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 07:11

AuthorPers.Botanical references17
SynonymsSchoenoplectus americanus - (Pers.)Volkart. ex Schinz.&R.Keller.

Scirpus pungens - Vahl.

Known HazardsNone known
RangeS. W. Europe, including Britain, south and east from the Netherlands to Belgium, Germany and Italy.
HabitatA very local pant in Britain, growing in the margins of ponds near the sea in Jersey and possibly Lancashire[17].
Edibility Ratingapple iconapple icon 2 (1-5)Medicinal Rating 0 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics

icon of man
icon of perennial/biennial/annual
Perennial growing to 0.6m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds
ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have
both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.
The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.
It requires moist or wet soil and can grow in water.
The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.


Pond; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Pollen; Root; Seed; Stem.

Root - raw or cooked[172, 257]. Rich in starch.
Stem. Peeled and eaten raw or cooked[172].
Stem base - raw or cooked[172].
Pollen[172]. Rich in protein, it can be added to flour when making
bread, cakes etc.
Seed - cooked. A nutty flavour[172]. The seed can be ground into a
powder, mixed with water, boiled and eaten as a mush[257]. The seed is
rather small and fiddly to harvest and utilize.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants.
Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

Other Uses

Basketry; Hair; Weaving.

The leaves, mixed with oil, have been rubbed on a child's head to make the hair grow long and thick[257].
The leaves have been used in making baskets and shopping bags[257]. They have also been woven into hats[257].

Cultivation details

Succeeds in any wet to moisture retentive ground, pond margins and shallow water in full sun or shade[200].


Seed - sow in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in a pot standing in
3cm of water. Only just cover the seed with soil[200]. The seed usually
germinates fairly quickly. Prick out the plants when large enough to
handle and plant out in their permanent positions in early summer.
Division in spring. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out
direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up
the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in
a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the



[17] Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press 1962
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.

[172] Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. 0
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.

[200] Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

[257] Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. 1998 ISBN 0-88192-453-9
comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent
bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to
further information. Not for the casual reader.

(C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2008.

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