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Great Bulrush

(Scirpus validus)

Other Names:

N/A

Range:

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

This tall dark green march grass grows in dense stands.

Height:

3 - 0 feet tall

Leaves:

Leafless

Stem/Trunk:

The stems smooth, round, pithy, and leafless.

Root:

Rootstock thick and scaly.

Flower:

Season:

Summer

Appearance:

The stems are topped by branching clusters of brown, bristly flower spikes.

Seed/Fruit:

Flower spikes ripen to produce edible seeds in late summer or early fall. They seeds may persist throughout the winter months, making them a viable, albeit meager, winter food source.

Miscellaneous characteristics:

This plant is easily recognizable as it is leafless, and it grows in large dense colonies.

Habitat:

Mud, shallow fresh, or brackish water.

Parts Used:

Shoots, Pollen, Seeds, Rootstock

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

In spring the young shoots can be eaten raw, or used as a cooked vegetable. The tender cores of the lower stem can also be eaten in older plants. The starchy tips of the rootstock can be roasted and eaten as a potato substitute from autumn through spring. They can also be dried, and pounded into a flour. The seeds and pollen can also be ground into a passable flour. The seeds can also be gathered and simmered in water to make a nutritious cereal.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

None Known

Additional Uses:

The leaves can be used to weave baskets or mats, or to make thatching to keep a shelter water proof.

This photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield