Scirpus spp.

Bulrush Location in North America Bulrush Location in Southeast U.S. Bulrush side view
bull rush diagram bulrush along bank close up bulrush

USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database (, 28 March 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
Illustration courtesy of University of Florida/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. Used with permission.

What is Bulrush?

Physical Characteristics


  • Either well-developed or blades much-reduced
  • Small leaf-like


  • Variable
  • Grow in clusters
  • Can range from 50-500 flowers per
  • Each has only one scale extending under to support it


  • Typically hollow
  • Thicker at base than near the flower


  • One seed
  • Does not open to release seed when ripe
  • One surface flat, the other surface bulging

Pros and Cons of Bulrush

Seeds of bulrushes are consumed by ducks and other birds; while geese, muskrats, and nutria consume the and early shoots. Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates.

What Type of Bulrush Do I Have?

There are 14 different species of bulrush in North America. Three of these species are common in Texas. Click on the buttons to learn more about each specific species.