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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 10 F and useful in USDA Zone 8a and above (some claim it to be even hardier but we can't verify this information). 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 seashores, 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. Other creative marketing names for it besides Fiber Optics Grass include Livewire (or Live Wire), Fairy Lights and Tina Turner Grass. 

This information about Scirpus cernuus displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.