Monday, 10 October 2016

Slender Bulrush - New to VC64 and Beyond?

Slender Bulrush (Typha laxmannii) is widely established in the aquatics trade but doesn't seem yet to have been recorded as escaped in Britain. I'm sure that will change in the future. It turned up in a reservoir I was surveying in Skipton where it had clearly been bunged in, along with a range of other non-natives, by anglers. It seems to have been there for a few years and scattered stands around the margins indicate it is spreading and establishing at this site.

My eye was first caught by the very narrow leaves on a non-flowering clump and my first thought was Flowering-rush (Butomus umbellatus), only realising my mistake when spotting the flowers and looking closer at the leaves. It is closest in appearance to the native Lesser Bulrush (Typha angustifolia), but it is a dwarf in comparison. There may be situations where environmental conditions serve to dwarf Lesser Bulrush, but in my experience bulrush species are pretty resilient. Certainly the growing conditions at this site were very favourable for bulrushes, with this species growing at a depth of 0.7 to 1m (perhaps greater depth given I recorded it during the summer draw-down period).

Postscript: originally I stated this record was from VC63, however I was in error and it is well inside VC64. The joys of a county boundary based on the meanderings of a watercourse!

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