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Wood Club-rush

Scirpus sylvaticus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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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 Club-rush, 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 Sedge, Yellow Sedge
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
120 centimetres tall
Ditches, fens, marshes, riversides, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Brown, no petals
Brown, ovate spikelets with olive green glumes. Wind pollinated.
A brown, 3-sided nutlet.
Patch-forming with triangular, leafy stems. The leaves are long, broad, flat and rough-edged.
Other Names:
Wood Bulrush.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Scirpus sylvaticus, also known as wood clubrush or wood bulrush, is a species of plant in the family Cyperaceae. It is native to wetlands and marshes in Europe, Asia, and North America. Wood 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.


Wood Club-rush (Scirpus sylvaticus) is a species of flowering plant that is native to North America. It is also commonly known as Wood Bulrush and Forest Bulrush. This plant is part of the Cyperaceae family, which includes other plants such as sedges, rushes, and cotton-grasses.

Wood Club-rush grows in moist or wet areas, such as marshes, swamps, and along the edges of streams and lakes. This plant can reach a height of 2 to 4 feet and has green, triangular stems that are topped with clusters of small, green flowers. The flowers bloom in the summer and are followed by small, brown seed heads.

This plant is an important species for wetland ecology, as it provides habitat and food for wildlife, such as waterfowl, muskrats, and beavers. It also helps to stabilize shorelines, reduce erosion, and improve water quality. Wood Club-rush is considered a "keystone species" in wetland ecosystems, meaning that it plays a critical role in maintaining the overall health and balance of the ecosystem.

In addition to its ecological importance, Wood Club-rush has also been used for various traditional medicinal purposes. For example, the roots and leaves of this plant have been used to treat a variety of ailments, such as headaches, colds, and digestive problems.

Despite its many benefits, Wood Club-rush is vulnerable to habitat destruction and degradation due to human activities, such as development, logging, and agriculture. As a result, it is important to protect and conserve this plant and its habitat, in order to maintain its ecological and cultural significance.

Wood Club-rush is a valuable species that provides important benefits to both wildlife and humans. Its preservation is essential for maintaining the health and balance of wetland ecosystems and preserving the traditional knowledge and practices that are associated with this plant.

Wood Club-rush is also a popular ornamental plant in landscaping, due to its attractive appearance and low maintenance requirements. It is ideal for planting in areas with moist or wet soil conditions, such as along pond or stream edges, or in rain gardens.

Another important aspect to consider is the impact of climate change on Wood Club-rush. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns can alter the distribution and abundance of this species, potentially leading to declines in its population.

To conserve Wood Club-rush and other wetland species, it is important to protect and restore wetland habitats. This can include measures such as reducing nutrient runoff from agricultural and urban areas, avoiding or mitigating the impacts of development and logging, and establishing buffer zones around wetlands to protect them from surrounding land use activities.

Citizen science and community-based monitoring programs can also play an important role in tracking the distribution and abundance of Wood Club-rush and other wetland species. By engaging the public in conservation efforts, we can increase awareness of the importance of these species and the need to protect their habitats.

Wood Club-rush is a valuable species that provides important benefits to both wildlife and humans. Its preservation requires a collaborative effort to protect and restore wetland habitats, and to monitor and respond to the impacts of climate change.

In addition to its ecological and cultural value, Wood Club-rush has also been used for a variety of other purposes. For example, the fibrous stems of this plant can be woven into baskets, mats, and other traditional crafts. The plant's ability to tolerate wet conditions and provide erosion control has also made it a popular choice for bioengineering projects, such as restoring degraded stream banks and stabilizing shorelines.

In terms of wildlife, Wood Club-rush provides important nesting and cover habitat for a variety of birds, including waterfowl and marsh birds. It also provides food for beavers, muskrats, and other herbivores, which in turn support the food chain for other animals.

However, it's important to note that the benefits of Wood Club-rush can be reduced or lost if the plant is not managed properly. For example, overgrazing by livestock or over-cutting for basketry can cause declines in the plant's population. Invasive species can also compete with Wood Club-rush for resources and ultimately displace it.

To ensure that Wood Club-rush continues to provide its many benefits, it's important to manage the plant and its habitat in a sustainable way. This may include controlling grazing pressure, controlling invasive species, and establishing management plans for traditional basketry and other uses of the plant.

In conclusion, Wood Club-rush is a species with a rich history of ecological, cultural, and economic importance. By understanding and managing this species in a sustainable way, we can ensure that its many benefits continue to be realized for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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