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Products > Scirpus cernuus
Scirpus cernuus - Low Bulrush
Image of Scirpus cernuus
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass-like
Family: Cyperaceae (Sedges)
Origin: Europe, Southern (Europe)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Brown
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Isolepis cernua]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Aquatic
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
Scirpus cernuus (Low Bulrush) - A very attractive evergreen grass-like sedge relative that grows as a 12 to 18 inch wide tuft to 8 inches tall with bright green narrow thread-like leaves that arch over gracefully and are tipped with pale brown bracts and flowers in summer. Plant in bright part shade to full sun along the coast and irrigate often to keep soil moist or place directly in water at a depth of 2 inches or at the water's edge. It is very hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as -20 F and useful in USDA Zone 5a and above. Cut back yearly in late winter for fresh new growth. Useful singularly, in mass or as a ground cover. The lighter flowers contrast well with the foliage and give the allusion of flexible, transparent fiber optic cable, which gives this plant the creative common name Fiber Optics Grass (quite descriptive!). This plant has long been grown in the nursery trade as Scirpus cernuus but its current name is Isolepis cernua. It has an incredibly widespread native range that includes western and southern Europe, the British Isles, North Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand the west coast of North America (California to British Columbia and Alaska) In California it is found in coastal areas throughout the state and inland in southern mountains where it grows in habitats such as brackish sea shores, bluffs, sand dunes, creeks and marshes. The name for the genus Scirpus comes from the Latin name used by Pliny for a rush or bulrush and Isolepis comes from the Greek words 'isos' meaning "equal" and 'lepis' meaning "scale" in reference to the flower glumes. The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'cernuus' which means drooping or nodding, in reference to the way the leaves arch over. It is also referred to as Bulrush (sometimes spelled Bullrush) and Tufted Clubrush. Creative marketing names for it include Livewire (or Live Wire), Fairy Lights and Tina Turner Grass.  This information is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library and from reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations of it in our nursery of crops, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we have visited. We will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Scirpus cernuus.