Scientific Name: Scirpus longii
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Nova Scotia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 1994
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 3, Special Concern - (SARA Schedule 1 provisions do not apply)
Image of Long's Bulrush
Long's Bulrush is a slow-growing perennial that grows in circular clusters. Leafy shoots first appear at the growing ends of thick underground stems (rhizomes) that are near the surface of the ground. These shoots create ring-shaped clusters, or clones. The largest clusters, that measure 5 to 10 m in diameter, are typically 150 to 400 years old. At 40 years of age, a cluster is about 1 m wide. The leaves are 60 to 80 cm long, and are usually bent over near the top. The leaves are tough; their serrated edges can cut skin. The plant rarely flowers, but when flowers do occur, their bracts are black, and sticky on humid days. Ripe seeds have a characteristic reddish tint.
Distribution and Population
The Long's Bulrush is rare in Canada. It grows in nine areas scattered throughout southwestern Nova Scotia. The largest population covers about 30 hectares of still-water meadow near Shingle Lake. Another group grows over 15 hectares of low marshy land beside the Eighteen Mile Brook. Many small lakeshore bogs in the Medway River system support this species. Only two small populations have been found at Tusket River, Wilson's Lake and Lac d'Ecole. There is a small population that grows in the southeastern corner of Quinns Meadow. There is also a young population that grows at the Dunraven Bog. Populations in the United States are found in a variety of freshwater wetlands along the eastern seaboard of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Jersey. Little is known about whether Canadian populations are expanding or declining. In the U.S., the species has been extirpated from New York, and two populations have been extirpated from Massachusetts.
The plant prefers peat wetlands where competition from shrubs is minimal. Favoured wetlands include peaty shores of high watershed lakes, small bogs associated with lakes or rivers, still-water meadows, and inland fens.
Colonies sprout from rooted parts of the horizontal stem. A dominant meristem (plant tissue consisting of actively dividing cells forming new tissue) produces 10 to 13 leaves per season. In early September the leaves turn a golden colour, in winter the plant dies back to its base. New leaves are initiated during the winter when the plants are flooded. Branches are formed through intravaginal tillers, i.e. shoots that spring from the bottom of the original stalk. The seeds are dispersed by water or by wind. Fire may facilitate plant establishment. The clones grow best when located up to 50 m from water's edge in still water meadows and fens. Extensive clone development occurs where there is minimal disturbance. The species depends on rhizome fragments to produce new clones at sites where it is disturbed. The plant generates less than 1 cm of rhizome growth per year.
Even large populations are threatened by alteration to drainage patterns caused by highway construction. Muskrat grazing also affects the species' success rate. Other threats include the loss of lakeshore habitats to cottages and the use of all-terrain vehicles in fens and meadows.
Species that were designated at risk by COSEWIC prior to October 1999 must be reassessed against revised criteria before they can be considered for addition to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). To find out when re-assessment of this species is anticipated, please consult the COSEWIC web site.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora Recovery Team
Sherman Boates - Chair/Contact - Government of Nova Scotia
Phone: 902-679-6146 Fax: 902-679-6176 Send Email
Samara Eaton - Chair/Contact - Environment Canada
Phone: 506-364-5060 Fax: 506-364-5062 Send Email
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
3 record(s) found.
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Action Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- Management Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- Date modified: