Definition of bulrush in English:


(also bullrush)


  • 1A tall reedlike water plant with a dark brown velvety cylindrical head of numerous tiny flowers.

    Genus Typha, family Typhaceae: several species, in particular T. latifolia

    Also called reed mace
    • ‘Cattails and bulrushes are especially efficient at absorbing large quantities of nitrogen and phosphorous, substances easily transported in runoff.’
    • ‘On the way we discovered fossils buried on the bank, frightened the geese, met a dog called Ronnie, picked tall bullrushes and got thoroughly lost in the undergrowth trying to find the path.’
    • ‘Foot by foot, inch by inch, it was coming closer to the quiet back water where I was standing waist deep among the bulrushes.’
    • ‘The female builds the nest, which is a bulky, open cup made of leaves, stems, and grass, and lashed to cattails, bulrushes, or other plants growing over the water.’
    • ‘As the lake recedes, it gives an increasing foothold to ‘emergents’ - cattails, bulrushes and other plant species that grow at the water's edge.’
    • ‘The nests are usually located on dry land close to water, in areas with dense cover, especially bulrush.’
    • ‘A flaring sunset touches the trees with colours of flame and molten copper; reddens even the bullrushes and the ropes of ivy which drift, among their own reflections, in the river.’
    • ‘These are built of stalks and leaves of bulrushes, flag, and reed-mace and reed.’
    • ‘A glossy ibis waded between the bulrushes and black swallows dipped in and out of the water.’
    • ‘Plants like cattails, bulrushes, jewelweed, and the lovely cardinal flower do best with alternating wet and dry periods, and survive flooding as long as most of the leaves are out of the water.’
    • ‘The most frequently emergent macrophytes used are reeds, bulrushes, cattails, rushes and sedges.’
    • ‘Visitors are especially intrigued by the large frog pond, complete with real frogs, pollywogs, bog plants, bulrushes, pickerel and water lilies, adjacent to the winery tasting room and cellars.’
    • ‘Their houses are constructed of bulrushes, weeds and packed mud, with separate sleeping platforms for each member of the family.’
    • ‘Cattails and bulrushes will replace the invasive phragmites that have choked the waterways.’
    • ‘Its dried-up canals have been taken over by the Typha australis bulrush, said Asuquo-Obot, who has been doing research on the macrophytic vegetation of large lakes.’
    • ‘Nests are made of grass, and are usually lashed to cattails, bulrushes, or other emergent vegetation close to the water.’
    • ‘Or climate warming could be accelerating the rate at which marsh plants such as cattails, bulrushes, and sedges invade ponds and convert them to meadows.’
    • ‘Norma Keane studied water flowers such as white water lilies and bulrushes while Darren Roache enjoyed completing his work on crustaceans.’
    • ‘Delicate lily-pads had been carefully placed on the glassy mirror of a thousand reflections, and clumps of reeds, bullrushes and gorse made forty-one shades of green.’
    • ‘Canvasbacks and redheads will nest over water using emergent plants, such as cattails and bulrushes.’
  • 2

    another term for clubrush
    • ‘Recent field and experimental findings from central Pennsylvania populations of northeastern bulrush, including those at Mohn Mill, indicate that light availability is critical to the plant's performance.’
    • ‘However, if such management is directed at ponds where northeastern bulrush already occurs, this approach will do little to maintain conditions appropriate for colonization of new vernal ponds.’
    • ‘Populations of listed plants like the northeastern bulrush are prone to extirpation because of their occurrence in sensitive habitats.’
    • ‘Northeastern bulrush inhabits small vernal ponds that occur within the forest matrix.’
    • ‘Dense stands of the ten-foot-tall soft-stem bulrush grow in a few places.’
    • ‘A vegetation study was conducted within central Pennsylvania's Ridge and Valley Province at the Mohn Mill natural area, an area that harbors the federally endangered northeastern bulrush, Scirpus ancistrochaetus.’
    • ‘Two species of bulrush (Scirpus lacustris var. occidentalis, and S. Tatora) are abundant in low lands along riversides in California.’
    • ‘Shoreline plants include soft-stem bulrush, hardstem bulrush, river bulrush and an aquatic, purple-petaled wildflower known as water willow.’
    • ‘Soft-stem bulrush occurs throughout North America from central Alaska south to Mexico, east to the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and south through Florida.’
    • ‘Interspersed are areas dominated by mulefat, and low marshy areas dominated by bulrush (Scirpus sp.) and cattails (Typha sp.).’
  • 3(in biblical use) a papyrus plant.

    • ‘Worked in silk on silk, it depicts Moses in the bullrushes, a subject that Vanderpoel's research suggested had been worked at the school, but no example of which bad come to light.’
    • ‘They thought that they would die, but there might be a chance that the baby's cooler would float and that - like Moses in the bulrushes - the baby would be found and saved.’
    • ‘She just appeared one day, like Moses in the bulrushes.’
    • ‘The biblical story of Moses records that, in order to avoid the persecution of the Pharaoh, Moses' parents concealed him by the river in an ark of bulrushes, from which he was rescued by the Pharaoh's daughter.’
    • ‘This new king became known as the Pharaoh of the Oppression, and it was during his time that the story of the infant Moses in the bulrushes is set.’
    • ‘The open basket can be compared to the arc of bulrushes into which Moses was cast by his Hebrew mother ‘when she could no longer hide him’.’
    • ‘Tiny, 3-month-old Moses lies in his basket of papyrus and pitch, resting in the bulrushes, just at the point of discovery.’
    • ‘And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.’
    • ‘David's abandonment in the forest primeval is also his deliverance from destruction, Moses left in the bulrushes.’
    • ‘Studying it, I finally grasped the connection between the story of the bulrushes and Moses' death before entering the Promised Land.’


Late Middle English: probably from bull in the sense ‘large or coarse’, as in words such as bullfrog.