Typha orientalis (Bulrush)
Species: Typha orientalis
Synonym: Typha muelleri
Common name: Bulrush, Raupo
Typha orientalis is a vigorous erect clump-forming perennial aquatic plant with spreading rhizomes. It is found throughout New Zealand in shallow fertile waters of sheltered lakes and swamps and marshes with an underground stem (rhizome).
The leaves are long strap-shaped basal pale green in colour. It is the seed heads that immediately identify this plant. . In spring to early summer an erect spike is formed bearing tightly packed clusters of single-sex flowers, the male above the female. After pollen release the spike bearing the male flowers withers and the female flowers give rise to tiny fruits. Numerous silky hairs ('down') become packed around each fruit to produce the familiar furry brown, cylindrical seed heads. Raupo dies down in the winter
The Maori used the long narrow leaves as a bandage around wounds and broken bones. The down that develops as the seeds ripen was also used to provide a protective covering on open wounds.
A gruel made from the rhizome was used to feed invalids. The roasted rhizome is also a strong laxative. An infusion made from the rhizomes of harakeke (Phormium tenax), tataramoa (Rubus sp) and raupo was used to assist the removal of the afterbirth. It was also used as a food plant.
Seeds are being realeased.