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Dwarf Bulrush

Its name refers to its size. With a height of 30 to 80cm, the dwarf bulrush (Typha minima) is considerably smaller than other bulrush species. Its appearance is a sign of an intact river landscape. It settles along bank areas with sandy, muddy soil, such as it is found along the fresh side-arms. It is a typical pioneer plant in large alpine floodplains.

Without the shifting of the arms and the soil, the dwarf bulrush, a plant which in a competitive environment is easily overgrown by taller species, such as reed and willows, couldn’t exist. Just like other pioneers in alpine floodplains it needs natural dynamics, which create bare locations for resettlement, to survive. These are the perfect conditions for the dwarf bulrush, which needs the light  and cannot survive in the shade. 

For propagation the dwarf bulrush relies on mass and speed. It produces many fine seeds, which can be dispersed by the wind and the water. Thanks to some thick tillers it is able  to propagate quickly.

The dwarf bulrush used to have large  populations along the river systems in the Alps and in the foothills of the Alps. Because of forceful river regulations its population dramatically declined over the last 100 years. Today it is an acutely endangered species in Alpine countries.
There are however, some isolated populations along the Tiroler Lech river. Alongside populations at the Rhine and the Dornbirner Ach, it is the largest  population in the Alpine area. Austria therefore now has  the key responsibility for preserving the dwarf bulrush in Europe.


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