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Green Bulrush

Posted by Tammy Sons on

Green Bulrush - Scirpus atrovirens

Green Bulrush is an aquatic grass native to wetlands around the world, but despite its name, it is a member of the Sedge family rather than Rush family. Its long bladelike leaves are smooth and green, and clusters of yellowish-green spikelets grow from strong sturdy stems. Like most aquatic grasses, it prefers to grow in soil that is both moist and cool, and is capable of growing in shallow water. Once it has been established, it is hardy enough to withstand occasional periods of drought, but until then it may struggle to thrive if planted in less than ideal conditions.

Green Bulrush seeds are best planted in wet claylike soil in areas that get plenty of sunlight, but the plant is adaptive enough to spread easily to sandier soil. As a perennial plant, it grows during the fall and spring to a height of several feet in favorable conditions, but will bloom spikelets during the midsummer months that gradually darken and brown within a few weeks. During this time, its florets use the wind to cross-pollinate, and as a self-sowing plant, its disbursed seeds will easily grow in a favorable environment.

Since its roots are fibrous and rhizomatous, Green Bulrush can also spread by forming large clonal colonies. Due to these qualities, it is often used to fend off soil erosion near bodies of water, and so it fits naturally in lakeshore landscapes as well as in rain gardens. In general, they are ideal for any low areas where water can drain, such as ditches or natural floodplains.

When allowed to grow with other marshland plants, Green Bulrush easily creates attractive thickets and wet meadows that require little maintenance in the right conditions. Because it is both a fast growing and a fast spreading plant, Green Bulrush is best suited for large landscapes and very large gardens.