Species Profile

Long's Bulrush

Scientific Name: Scirpus longii
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Nova Scotia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2017
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 3, Special Concern - (SARA Schedule 1 provisions do not apply)


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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Long's Bulrush

Long's Bulrush Photo 1

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Description

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.

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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.

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Habitat

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.

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Biology

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.

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Threats

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.

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Protection

Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Team

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

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Documents

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

  • Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2016)

    Section 37 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species and Section 65 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare management plans for special concern species. For the SARA-listed species of Special Concern, their inclusion in this combined recovery strategy and management plan will also serve in lieu of a separate management plan as required under SARA (Sections 65-67). The Province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada Agency led the development of this document. This recovery strategy and management plan was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous other individuals and agencies including environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada (2017)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site (KNP and NHS), including Kejimkujik National Park Seaside. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur within these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at KNP and NHS.

Management Plans

  • Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2010)

    Section 37 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species and Section 65 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare management plans for special concern species. For the SARA-listed species of Special Concern, their inclusion in this combined recovery strategy and management plan will also serve in lieu of a separate management plan as required under SARA (Sections 65-67). The Province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada Agency led the development of this document. This recovery strategy and management plan was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous other individuals and agencies including environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners.