Great Bullrush

(Scirpus validus)

Other Names:


Cyperaceae - Sedge Family

Growth Type:
This tall dark green march grass grows in dense stands.

3 - 10 feet tall


The stems smooth, round, pithy, and leafless

Rootstock thick and scaly

Flower Season:

Flower Appearance:
The stems are topped by branching clusters of brown, bristly flower spikes

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.

Mud, shallow fresh, or brackish water

Parts Used:
Shoots, Pollen, Seeds, Rootstock

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 waterproof a shelter.