Flowering rush

Butomus umbellatus

Flowering rush, photo: Arne Ader

Flowering rushes grow on the shores of waterbodies with standing water or slowly moving water up to 3 m deep. They are helophytes. This means that the lower part of its stem and leaves is in water from spring to autumn, but in autumn, the part that is above ground dies and the plant spends the winter in a rhizome. The stem is 60–300 cm in height. It has linear sharply pointed leaves, up to a metre or even longer in length, which have a triangular cross-section and which usually grow from a 1.5–2 cm rhizome in two rows. The leaves have a smooth edge and parallel leaf stalks. There are no leaves on the flower stem. The flower stems also grow from the rhizome. Several flower stems might grow from a rhizome, but in this case, they are located 4–7 cm from each other. The flower stems are cylinder-shaped. The flowers are pinkish-white, up to 2.5 cm in diameter, and they form an umbel. The flowers are bisexual and they have three sepals, which look similar to petals. Its rhizome is thick and full of starch, and people can eat it after cooking. Its leaves are used to make mats and other basketwork.