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Flowering Rush - Butomus umbrellatus

Description: Flowering rush is a freshwater plant that can grow up to 1.5m tall. It has a single, flat-topped cluster of 20-50 light pink flowers, each with 3 petals and 3 sepals. Leaves are fleshy and 3 sided at the base, with a noticeable slow twist or spiral and flattening out towards the tip. When the stem is broken in two, white stringy fibers can be seen. It is native to Northern Africa, Asia, and Europe; and was introduced to North America as an ornamental plant about 100 years ago.

Type: Perennial.

Habitat and Impacts: Flowering Rush grows along the shorelines of freshwater bodies, canals, and ditches. It can rapidly colonize these areas and spreads by rhizome fragments and buds. Flowering Rush reduces the quality of boating, fishing, and swimming in shallow, freshwater habitats; as well as, negatively impacting native plant and aquatic animal communities.

Method of Spread: There are two types of Flowering Rush species; one that produces viable seed, and one that produces non-viable seed. Both species of Flowering Rush can also reproduce both by rhizomes through buds or root fragments. For fertile species, seed production is significant, with between 4, 000 and 10, 000 seeds produced per plant. The seeds can remain viable for many years. Rhizomatous buds detach easily from the roots and the flower head and develop into new plants quickly and easily on moist soil. Root fragments also demonstrate the same ability, making Flowering Rush a very prolific plant.

Management Options:

Mechanical: Digging or suction dredging by hand may be successful for isolated plants in areas of low-density populations. The entire rhizome must be removed without leaving any buds or other root fragments. This must be completed with care as the rhizomatous buds and roots very easily detach from the plant with disturbance. Cutting has not proven successful. Land disposal of the plant is required.

Chemical: Due to its aquatic habitat, chemical control options are not available at this time in Canada.

Biological: There is no biological agent available for Flowering Rush at this time.


Local Level - careful digging.


Invasive species profile taken from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee Invasive Plant Regional Strategic Plan

Page last modified: October 30, 2018 09:44:02 PDT