The Knobby Club Rush is September's plant of the month.
Common Name: Knobby Club Rush
Botanical Name: Ficinia nodosa
The Cyperaceae family consists of perennial and annual herbs, often with a grass-like or rush-like appearance.
Habitat and Distribution
Ficinia nodosa is a grass-like sedge native throughout Australian, New Zealand, South Africa and South America. It is relatively common and grows in a wide variety of environments from coastal sand dunes, to alpine regions, and heathlands. It is often found on the margins of saline or sub-saline lakes.
Knobby Club Rush grows between 15-220cm high with stems 1-2mm diameter and “knobby” seed heads. Roots have rhizomes that are relatively stout and tough. Leaves are reduced to small orange-brown sheaths.
The flower head grows in summer and often remains throughout the year. It is dense and globular or hemispherical in shape, 7-20 mm diameter with numerous spikelets, subtended by a rigid and sharply pointed bract. Fruit is a small seed-like nut that is smooth, glossy, dark brown to black of irregular shape and 1 mm diameter.
This sedge is ideal for plantings in rockeries and around water features, ponds, and dry creek beds. It acts as an excellent filtration plant and can be used in biofiltration systems, such as constructed wetlands to remove heavy metals, phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations from storm water runoff.
The slender tough stems were used to weave into baskets. With a flavour similar to green tea, fish can be wrapped and cooked in the stems over hot coals. The seeds are edible.
This sedge makes an excellent shelter and habitat for ducks and other animals.
In New Zealand, Maori people used sedges, including F. nodosa to thatch roofs of buildings and houses, known as whare.
Where to see the Knobby Club Rush in Centennial Parklands
Around Busby’s Pond. Map Ref: K9.