This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Found in Neolithic deposits at Southampton docks, like other maritime but Arctic species, this is represented in plant beds of Glacial and later age. It is found to-day in N. Temperate and Arctic Europe, N. Africa, W. Siberia, N.W. India, and N. America. In Great Britain it is found in Surrey, Berks, and Middlesex, on the banks of the Thames, and in Cambridge and Huntingdon, Worcester, Warwick, Stafford, Montgomery, and Perth amongst inland counties, and is absent from the coastal counties of Cardigan and Westmorland, ranging elsewhere; but is not found in Banff and Elgin, S. or Mid Ebudes, W. Ross, and farther north or west it is only found in the Hebrides, and from Ross and Skye it is general elsewhere to the English Channel. It is also a native of Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Sea Club Rush is one of the commonest maritime species, being found more continuously along the coast on sandy shores and in estuaries and salt marshes than any other plant. It is also, like Golden Dock, found inland. It grows above high-water mark on sand dunes, as well as farther inland.
The stem is 3-angled and leafy, from a tuberous root. The stems are tufted, and bear leaves at the base, which are broad, long, and keeled, with channels.
The flowers are borne in a dense terminal cyme or cluster, the spikes being stalkless or stalked, with long leafy bracts. The glumes are smooth, blunt, with a sharp point, divided nearly to the base, and there are 6 bristles. The nut is 3 - sided, flattened lengthwise, and shiny.
The plant is 2-3 ft. high. Flowers are to be found in July up to September. It is perennial, and propagated by suckers. The flowers are pollinated by the wind, bisexual, with similar floral mechanism to the Bulrush.
The fruit is a nut, indehiscent, which falls when ripe to the ground, and is dispersed by the plant itself or by the wind.
Sea Club Rush is a salt-lover, addicted to a saline soil, and at the same time a sand plant, being more essentially the latter than the former.
It is infested by a Homopterous insect, Paramesus nervosus. The second Latin name refers to its maritime habitat, and Scirpus is Latin for rush or bulrush.
The plant is called Spurt, Star Grass.
The roots taste sweet, and have been ground and used for flour. The plant is relished by cattle, and also especially by swine.
Photo. Messrs. Flatters & Garnett. - Sea Club Rush (Scirpus maritimus, L.)