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Flowering Rush

Species
Butomus umbellatus

Flowering rush is a perennial aquatic invader with sedge-like leaves (triangular in cross-section) and is sometimes used in landscaping where its almond-scented, delicate pink flowers add colour to the margins of ponds and water gardens. It is widely cultivated across North America, but has escaped into native wetlands.

How does it spread?

Flowering rush can spread via seeds or by buoyant, broken roots and rhizomes moved by water, waves, ice, waterfowl, wildlife, boating activities and other disturbances. Broken parts quickly establish in new, moist soil. Once removed from the water, flowering rush can still grow and spread, mainly from the roots.  The many-branched root and rhizome system can grow up to a foot in length.

Where would I find it?

It thrives in aquatic environments such as marshes, wetlands, irrigation canals, sloughs, and the shorelines of river and lakes. Flowering rush can either grow in shallow water or as a submerged plant in deeper water. 

What problems does it cause?

Once established, flowering rush can quickly form dense monoculture stands and interfere with recreation, crowd out native plants, which can be harmful to native fish and wildlife. Flowering rush is regarded as one of five invasive alien plants having a major ecological impact on natural ecosystems in Canada. It is rare in southwestern BC, and is an emerging invasive to watch for and report.

Additional Recommendations

  • Northern Isis (Iris setosa) BC native (z3) 
  • Water Plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica) BC native (z3)

A provincial initiative coordinated by ISCBC

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