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Common Reedmace

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A distinctive and common plant of wet places; lakes, ponds, rivers and fresh water swamps and marshes.


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Common Reedmace: Moses in the bulrushes

Post date: Saturday, 21 January, 2017 - 21:06

Common Reedmace (Typha latifolia) is a familiar plant of ponds, slow moving rivers and swamps and is often, mistakenly, called the bulrush. I guess, for many of us older people, this will always be connected with pictures in our school Bibles of Moses in the bulrushes! In fact, if you look in a field guide of grasses, sedges, rushes and reeds you will not find this plant at all, you need to look in a wild flower guide as, although it thrives in similar habitat to reeds and sedges, it is totally unrelated.  

I will leave it to real botanists to muse over why this is a flower and not a grass but, regardless of its classification, is a 'functional' plant. The attractive brown pods it produces are packed full of seeds which split when ripe and the seeds fall, or are blown, on to the water where they get gradually washed to a muddy area where they settle, germinate and produce more reedmace. 
Not a great food source for insects perhaps but reed buntings, bearded tit and other birds do like the seeds. 

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 Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Common Reedmace
Alternative Name(s) Bullrush
Scientific Name Typha latifolia
Family Reedmace family - Typhaceae
Status Locally frequent
Interest Level
Species Family Aquatic Plants
Flower Colour Group Brown
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
Preferred Environment
Look for Large soft flower spikes - often called bulrush
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
FD: Ditches and streams Associated
FF: Fen and carr Associated
FL: Lakes and reservoirs Associated
FP: Ponds Associated
FS: Slow moving rivers Associated
CR: Reedbed Associated