Cladium mariscus

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaCyperaceaeCladiumCladium mariscus


A rhizomatous perennial of oligotrophic to mesotrophic habitats, usually growing on peat. It is found in swamps at the margins of lakes and ponds and along streams, and in tall-herb fens and open fen carr. In England and Wales it is largely restricted to calcareous sites, whereas in the Hebrides and W. Ireland it also occurs in acidic areas. Lowland.



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Southern-temperate element; also in N. America.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Fen, marsh and swamp (not wooded)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 10

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 4.1

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1085

Life form information

Height (cm): 200

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Perennial hydrophyte (perennial water plant)

Life Form - secondary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)

Comment on Life Form

Non-flowering meristems are all below ground (P & C 1994)



Clonality - primary

Rhizome shortly creeping

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 232

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 258

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 1

Atlas Change Index: 0.11

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (353b)
Conway VM
1942.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 6. Cladium mariscus (L.) R. Br. Journal of Ecology. 30:211-216.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Preston CD, Croft JM
1997.  Aquatic plants in Britain and Ireland.