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Common Name: American Bulrush
Scirpus americanus is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
S. W. Europe, including Britain, south and east from the Netherlands to Belgium, Germany and Italy.
A very local pant in Britain, growing in the margins of ponds near the sea in Jersey and possibly Lancashire[
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 - cooked. A nutty flavour[
]. The seed can be ground into a powder, mixed with water, boiled and eaten as a mush[
]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to harvest and utilize.
The leaves, mixed with oil, have been rubbed on a child's head to make the hair grow long and thick[
The leaves have been used in making baskets and shopping bags[
]. They have also been woven into hats[
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.