Butomus umbellatus

26 Aug

Butomus umbellatus (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Butomus umbellatus (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Soil: Sandy clay or loam, wet

Flowering period: Summer

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 45cm

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11

Family: Butomaceae

Butomus umbellatus is an aquatic deciduous perennial with a clump forming habit. Its mid green leaves are radical, strap shaped with entire margins, up to 120cm long and 1cm broad. Its fragrant rose pink flowers are up to 2.5cm across and arranged in umbels. Its fruit is an erect follicetum which turns brown as it matures. Its roots are fibrous, emerging from a tuberous rhizome.

Butomus umbellatus Flower (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Butomus umbellatus Flower (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Butomus umbellatus commonly known as Flowering Rush or Water Gladiolus, is native to Europe (including the UK) and the temperate regions of Asia. In its native habitat it grows at pond margins, canals and ditches in open locations.

The etymological root of the binomial name Butomus is from the Greek bous meaning ‘ox’ and temno meaning ‘to cut’. Umbellatus is from the Latin umbella meaning ‘parasol’, in reference to the inflorescence.

The landscape architect may find Butomus umbellatus useful as an aquatic plant for marginal edges of permanent water bodies.

Butomus umbellatus leaf (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Butomus umbellatus leaf (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically Butomus umbellatus flowers are attractive to pollinating insects, including bees.

Butomus umbellatus prefers wet soils in a submerged location. It tolerates most pH of soil. Its planted submerged depth is between 0cm to 25cm.

Butomus umbellatus requires little maintenance.

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