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Bristle Club-rush

Isolepis setacea

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 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 Club-rush, Wood Sedge, Yellow Sedge
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Ditches, grassland, ponds, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside, water, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
A purplish-brown, solitary, oval or egg-shaped flowerhead situated on top of a leafless stem.
A dark brown or blackish nut.
Thread-like leaves that appear in pairs at the base of the plant. Perennial.
Other Names:
Bristle Scirpus, Bristleleaf Bulrush, Bristly Clubrush, Bristly Clubrush, Wire-stemmed Clubrush.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Isolepis setacea, also known as bristly clubrush or wire-stemmed clubrush, is a species of plant in the family Cyperaceae. It is native to wetlands and marshes in Europe, Asia, and North America. Bristly clubrush is a small, herbaceous plant that grows in a tufted or clumped habit. It has thin, wiry stems and small, grass-like leaves. It produces small, brown or greenish-brown flowers that are surrounded by papery bracts. It is commonly found in wetland habitats and is used in horticulture as an ornamental plant.


Bristle Club-rush, also known as Isolepis setacea, is a type of wetland plant that is native to Australia. It belongs to the Cyperaceae family and is commonly found growing in swamps, lakesides, and river banks. This species is known for its dense clusters of delicate, green leaves and its distinctive flower spikes, which give it its common name.

The plant has a tufted growth habit and can reach heights of up to 60 cm. Its leaves are narrow, linear, and about 10 cm long. The flowers are small and arranged in spikes that can grow up to 10 cm in length. The spikes are surrounded by papery bracts that protect the flowers, and they are often brown or reddish-brown in color.

Bristle Club-rush is a hardy plant that is well adapted to growing in wetland environments. It is highly tolerant of waterlogging and can grow in a variety of soils, including clay and sand. The plant is also resistant to salt spray and can tolerate salt concentrations in the soil. This makes it an ideal plant for coastal or saline environments.

In addition to its ornamental value, Bristle Club-rush has several other uses. For example, it can be used for erosion control, as it helps to stabilize soil and prevent soil erosion in wetland areas. It can also be used as a source of food for wildlife, as the seeds are a favorite of waterfowl.

Bristle Club-rush is relatively easy to grow and care for. It should be planted in a sunny or partially shady location and should be watered regularly. It can be propagated by dividing the clumps or by seed, and it is also easy to maintain once it is established.

Bristle Club-rush is a versatile and attractive wetland plant that is well adapted to a variety of growing conditions. With its hardiness, ornamental value, and multiple uses, it is a valuable addition to any wetland or coastal garden. So, if you are looking to add some color and texture to your landscape, consider incorporating Bristle Club-rush into your garden design.

Bristle Club-rush is a great plant for gardeners who want to create a natural, wetland-style landscape. It can be used to create a lush and vibrant garden, or as an accent plant to complement other wetland plants. For example, it can be used to create a beautiful and interesting border around a pond or lake, or it can be planted in a group to create a striking visual impact.

In terms of maintenance, Bristle Club-rush is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care once established. However, it is important to keep the soil around the plant moist, especially during periods of drought. This can be done by watering the plant regularly or by adding a layer of mulch to help retain moisture in the soil.

Another important factor to consider when growing Bristle Club-rush is its environment. As a wetland plant, it prefers a moist and boggy environment, so it is important to ensure that the soil is not too dry or too wet. This can be achieved by adding compost or other organic matter to the soil, or by creating a raised bed or a shallow pond to ensure adequate moisture levels.

In terms of pests and diseases, Bristle Club-rush is relatively resistant to most pests and diseases. However, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of disease or infestation, such as yellowing leaves, discoloration, or wilting. If any problems arise, it is best to consult with a local horticulturist or garden center for advice on treatment.

Bristle Club-rush is a wonderful addition to any garden, particularly for those who are looking to create a natural, wetland-style landscape. With its delicate leaves and striking spikes, it adds a touch of beauty and elegance to any garden, while being easy to grow and care for.

Bristle Club-rush is not only a great plant for gardens but also for a variety of other landscaping projects. For example, it can be used in large-scale landscaping projects, such as parks and public spaces, as well as in smaller residential gardens. It is also suitable for use in a variety of other settings, including wetlands, lakefronts, and even along riverbanks.

Another great aspect of Bristle Club-rush is its versatility. It can be used in a range of different planting styles, from traditional wetland gardens to more modern, contemporary landscapes. It also looks great when combined with other wetland plants, such as reeds, rushes, and grasses.

When planting Bristle Club-rush, it is important to choose the right location. As previously mentioned, it is best grown in a sunny or partially shady location that provides adequate moisture. It is also important to plant it in the right soil, as it prefers moist and boggy soils, but can also tolerate drier soils if they are well-drained.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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