02 August 2013

Flowering Rush

Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus) is a charismatic member of the aquatic flora in Neath Port Talbot where it occurs on the Tennant Canal near Jersey Marine, locally along the ditches on Margam Moors and sporadically in a few other places. It is often frustratingly difficult to find and I presume that more often than not it 'hides' in vegetative form. But then, in some years, lots of plants seem to flower in synchrony among the reeds and sedges that clothe the banks. Populations in any location also appear to be very mobile, so that plants (which may be short-lived) often appear in different places in different years. Vegetative propagation by specialised, aquatic buds, called turions, which may be carried passively in the water, may explain this. The last two years have been disappointing for the Jersey Marine population, but this year seems to be a good one. Although Flowering Rush is not a nationally rare species, native populations have diminished in recent decades and it is fairly scarce in our area. Please do not collect or endanger these plants in any way.

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