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Grey Club-rush

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Cyperaceae (Sedge)
Also in this family:
American Galingale, Birdsfoot Sedge, Black Alpine Sedge, Black Bog-rush, Bladder Sedge, Bog Sedge, Bottle Sedge, Bristle Club-rush, Bristle Sedge, Broad-leaved Cotton-grass, Brown Beak-sedge, Brown Bog-rush, Chestnut Rush, Close-headed Alpine Sedge, Club Sedge, Common Club-rush, Common Cotton-grass, Common Sedge, Common Spike-rush, Curved Sedge, Deergrass, Dioecious Sedge, Distant Sedge, Divided Sedge, Dotted Sedge, Downy-fruited Sedge, Dwarf Sedge, Dwarf Spike-rush, Estuarine Sedge, False Fox Sedge, False Sedge, Few-flowered Sedge, Few-flowered Spike-rush, Fibrous Tussock Sedge, Fingered Sedge, Flat Sedge, Flea Sedge, Floating Club-rush, Gingerbread Sedge, Glaucous Sedge, Great Fen Sedge, Greater Pond Sedge, Greater Tussock Sedge, Green-ribbed Sedge, Grey Sedge, Hair Sedge, Hairy Sedge, Haresfoot Sedge, Hare's-tail Cotton-grass, Heath Sedge, Hop Sedge, Large Yellow Sedge, Lesser Pond Sedge, Lesser Tussock Sedge, Long-bracted Sedge, Many-stalked Spike-rush, Mountain Bog Sedge, Needle Spike-rush, Northern Deergrass, Northern Spike-rush, Oval Sedge, Pale Sedge, Pendulous Sedge, Perennial Sedge, Pill Sedge, Prickly Sedge, Remote Sedge, Rock Sedge, Round-headed Club-rush, Russet Sedge, Salt Sedge, Sand Sedge, Scorched Alpine Sedge, Sea Club-rush, Sheathed Sedge, Slender Club-rush, Slender Cotton-grass, Slender Sedge, Slender Spike-rush, Slender Tufted Sedge, Smooth-stalked Sedge, Soft-leaved Sedge, Spiked Sedge, Spring Sedge, Star Sedge, Starved Wood Sedge, Stiff Sedge, String Sedge, Sweet Galingale, Tall Bog Sedge, Tawny Sedge, Thin-spiked Wood Sedge, Triangular Club-rush, True Fox Sedge, Tufted Sedge, Water Sedge, White Beak-sedge, White Sedge, Wood Club-rush, Wood Sedge, Yellow Sedge
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
3 metres tall
Ditches, floodplains, marshes, meadows, ponds, riverbanks, riversides, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
Grey Club-rush produces small, inconspicuous flowers. The flowers are typically brown or green in color and appear in the form of clustered spikelets along the plant's stem. These flowers are not particularly showy but play a role in the plant's reproductive process.
Grey Club-rush produces small, inconspicuous fruits. The fruit is in the form of nutlets, which are small, dry, and often brown in colour. These nutlets contain the seeds of the plant and are sometimes enclosed within the remnants of the flower's spikelets.
The leaves of Grey Club-rush are long, narrow, and typically have a bluish-green hue. They are slender, linear, and grow from the base of the plant. The leaves can reach considerable lengths and contribute to the overall aesthetic of the plant.
Grey Club-rush does not typically have a distinct aroma. The plant is not known for emitting any specific or notable fragrance. It is primarily appreciated for its visual characteristics and ecological contributions rather than for any particular scent.
Other Names:
Great Bulrush, Great Clubrush, Softstem Bulrush, Soft-stem Club-rush, Soft-stemmed Clubrush.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani, also known as great clubrush or soft-stemmed clubrush, is a species of plant in the family Cyperaceae. It is native to wetlands and marshes in Europe, Asia, and North America. Great clubrush is a large, herbaceous plant that grows in a tufted or clumped habit. It has thick, fleshy stems and long, grass-like leaves. It produces small, brown or greenish-brown flowers that are surrounded by papery bracts. The plant is commonly found in wetland habitats and is used in horticulture as an ornamental plant.


Grey Club-rush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani) is a species of rush plant found in wetlands, shallow ponds, and along streams. It is commonly referred to as grey bulrush or grey reedmace and is native to Europe and Asia. The plant is named after the German naturalist, Tabernaemontanus.

This species is known for its distinctive grey-green foliage that grows up to 2 meters in height. The leaves are triangular in shape and are arranged in a spiral pattern on the stem. The plant produces small brown or green flowers in the summer that are surrounded by a cup-like structure, which gives it its common name of reedmace.

Grey Club-rush is a hardy plant and is adaptable to a variety of growing conditions. It thrives in moist, nutrient-rich soils and is tolerant of both high and low water levels. It is also an excellent choice for use in landscaping and water gardens as it is low maintenance and does not require frequent pruning.

In addition to its ornamental value, Grey Club-rush has several practical uses. It is often used as a source of food for wildlife, such as geese, ducks, and other waterbirds. The plant is also used as a natural erosion control measure along riverbanks and in wetland areas. Its fibrous roots help to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

Overall, Grey Club-rush is a versatile and attractive plant that is well-suited to a wide range of habitats. Its hardiness and adaptability make it a great choice for landscaping and water gardens, while its practical uses make it an important plant for the preservation of wetlands and stream environments.

Another important aspect of Grey Club-rush is its medicinal properties. The plant has a long history of traditional use in herbal medicine and has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including digestive problems, skin irritations, and respiratory issues.

The root of the plant contains high levels of tannins, which are compounds with astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds make the root an effective treatment for digestive problems such as diarrhea, colitis, and hemorrhoids. The root is also used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Grey Club-rush has cultural significance in many cultures. In traditional Chinese medicine, the plant is believed to have cooling properties and is used to treat fevers and other heat-related conditions. In Hindu tradition, the plant is believed to have spiritual significance and is often used in religious ceremonies.

In conclusion, Grey Club-rush is a versatile and important plant species with numerous ornamental, practical, and medicinal uses. Its hardiness and adaptability make it a great choice for landscaping and water gardens, while its medicinal properties and cultural significance make it an important plant species in many cultures around the world. Whether you're a gardener, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply interested in traditional medicine, Grey Club-rush is a plant that is worth learning more about.

30 Facts About Grey Club-rush

Here are 30 interesting facts about Grey Club-rush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani):

  1. Grey Club-rush, scientifically known as Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani, is a perennial wetland plant.
  2. It belongs to the family Cyperaceae and is native to North America.
  3. This species typically grows in wetlands, marshes, and along the edges of lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams.
  4. Grey Club-rush has distinctive greyish-green, slender, cylindrical stems (culms) that can grow to a height of 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 meters).
  5. Its leaves are long, narrow, and often have a bluish-green hue.
  6. The plant blooms with small, inconspicuous, brown or green flower spikes.
  7. Grey Club-rush is a valuable plant for stabilizing soil in wetland areas and preventing erosion due to its extensive root system.
  8. It provides habitat and shelter for various wildlife, including birds, insects, and amphibians.
  9. This plant is commonly used in wetland restoration projects due to its ability to filter water and improve water quality.
  10. Grey Club-rush is adaptable to various water depths, making it suitable for both shallow and moderately deep aquatic environments.
  11. It can thrive in both full sun and partial shade conditions.
  12. The plant can spread and form dense colonies through its rhizomatous root system, creating a carpet-like appearance in wetland areas.
  13. Grey Club-rush is known to be tolerant of pollution and can help in phytoremediation by absorbing contaminants from the water and soil.
  14. Its seeds serve as a food source for various waterfowl and small mammals.
  15. In some regions, Grey Club-rush is considered an invasive species due to its rapid spread, which can outcompete native plants in certain ecosystems.
  16. It's a popular choice for landscaping in water gardens and wetland areas due to its aesthetic appeal and ease of maintenance.
  17. The plant has historical and cultural significance, as some Indigenous communities have used it for weaving and making baskets, mats, and other crafts.
  18. Grey Club-rush has several common names, including Soft-stem Bulrush, Grey Bulrush, and Great Bulrush.
  19. The plant's name "tabernaemontani" honors Jakob Theodor von Bergzabern, a 16th-century German physician and botanist.
  20. It is also known to have some medicinal uses in traditional herbal remedies.
  21. Grey Club-rush can aid in the natural purification of water by trapping sediments and filtering impurities.
  22. It's a robust plant that can survive in challenging environmental conditions and has a high tolerance for salinity.
  23. The species can help in creating wildlife corridors and enhancing biodiversity in wetland ecosystems.
  24. During the growing season, Grey Club-rush provides visual interest with its tall, swaying stems and distinctive seed heads.
  25. It is considered a valuable addition to natural and constructed wetlands for its ecological contributions.
  26. Grey Club-rush is an excellent choice for landscaping around constructed water features, such as ponds and bioswales.
  27. Its extensive root system helps in preventing soil erosion and acts as a stabilizing force in marshy areas.
  28. The plant's propagation is commonly done through division or by seed dispersal.
  29. Grey Club-rush's adaptability and hardiness make it a favored choice for habitat restoration projects.
  30. Conservation efforts often focus on protecting and maintaining Grey Club-rush populations in their native habitats to support wetland ecosystems.

Remember, the information might vary depending on the specific region and environmental conditions where Grey Club-rush is found.


Grey Club-rush filmed at Lower Moor Farm Nature Reserve in Wiltshire on the 28th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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