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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

13 October, 2010

Reed Mace (Typha latifolia)

This familiar plant of ponds, slow moving rivers and swamps is often, mistakenly, called the Bulrush. I guess, for many of us older people, this will always be connected with pictures in our school Bibles of Moses in the Bulrushes!

In fact, if you look in a field guide of grasses, sedges, rushes and reeds you will not find this plant at all, you need to look in a wild flower guide as, although it thrives in similar habitat to reeds and sedges it is totally unrelated.

I will leave it to real botanists to muse over why this is a flower and not a grass but, regardless of its classification, is a 'functional' plant. The attractive brown pods it produces are packed full of seeds which split when ripe and the seeds fall, or are blown, on to the water where they get gradually get washed to a muddy area where they settle, germinate and produce more Reed-mace.

Not a great food source for insects perhaps but Reed Buntings and other birds do like the seeds.