1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bulrush

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BULRUSH, a name now generally given to Typha latifolia, the reed-mace or club-rush, a plant growing in lakes, by edges of rivers and similar localities, with a creeping underground stem, narrow, nearly flat leaves, 3 to 6 ft. long, arranged in opposite rows, and a tall stem ending in a cylindrical spike, half to one foot long, of closely packed male (above) and female (below) flowers. The familiar brown spike is a dense mass of minute one-seeded fruits, each on a long hair-like stalk and covered with long downy hairs, which render the fruits very light and readily carried by the wind. The name bulrush is more correctly applied to Scirpus lacustris, a member of a different family (Cyperaceae), a common plant in wet places, with tall spongy, usually leafless stems, bearing a tuft of many-flowered spikelets. The stems are used for matting, &c. The bulrush of Scripture, associated with the hiding of Moses, was the Papyrus (q.v.), also a member of the order Cyperaceae, which was abundant in the Nile.