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Common Name: Panicled Bulrush
Scirpus microcarpus is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Western N. America.
Wet low ground in lowlands to moderate elevations in the mountains[
]. Marshes, moist meadows and ditches from sea level to 2900 metres[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Succeeds in any wet to moisture retentive ground, pond margins and shallow water in full sun or shade[
Root - raw or cooked[
]. Rich in starch.
Stem. Peeled and eaten raw or cooked[
Stem base - raw or cooked[
]. Rich in protein, it can be added to flour when making bread, cakes etc.
Seed. A nutty flavour[
]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to harvest and utilize.
A poultice of the pounded roots has been used as a treatment for abscesses[
An infusion of the plant, combined with blue flag (Iris spp), has been used as a gargle for sore throats[
The leaves have been used in the bottom portion of baskets[
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[
]. 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 summer.