Stuart Edmunds

Great reedmace

Scientific name: Typha latifoli
Great reedmace is familiar to many of us as the archetypal 'Bulrush'. Look for its tall stems, sausage-like, brown flower heads and green, flat leaves at the water's edge in our wetland habitats.

Species information


Height: up to 2m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Great reedmace, also know known as 'Bulrush', is a familiar plant of freshwater margins, such as the edges of ponds, lakes, ditches and rivers. Its impressive stance - with long leaves and tall stems - makes it stand out from other wetlands plants. Its sausage-like flower heads are unmistakeable; these appear from June to August, but the plant persists through the winter, often dying back to a brownish colour from its usual green.

How to identify

Great reedmace has tall stems bearing cylindrical, brown flower heads that are topped by a spire of smaller, male flowers. It also has long, wide, grey-green leaves.


Grows everywhere in the UK, but rarer in the north of Scotland.

Did you know?

In common with Common Club-rush, Great reedmace is also known as 'Bulrush', but is perhaps the plant that this name is most likely to invoke.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.