a pond covered in tree lily pads

Our Wetland Plants

Find out about the different species of plant growing in our wetland. Our plants are easy to tell apart when they are in bloom but even in winter you can spot differences.

Although they look like grasses, many of our plants are rushes or sedges. You can tell which is which because true grasses have hollow stems but rushes are round and sedges have edges.

Explore Wetland Plants

Join Jillian as she explains the different parts of a plant, with the help of the wetland moat at Glasgow Science Centre's Outer Space.

More plant experiments...

Join Fergus to see how to germinate seeds in soil and find out how plants change shape to reach sunlight by building a plant maze.

Our plant species

Click on an image below to find out more about the plant you can see.

A yellow iris A branched bur reed lesser bulrush reed sweet grass purple loosestrife goat willow common osier White willow Sweet galingale Greater pond sedge Sweet flag Water mint Water soldier White waterlily Attraction waterlily

Yellow iris

Iris pseudacorus

The drooping petals of the yellow flowers are thought to be the inspiration for the fleur-de-lis symbol, which is used in the logos for the Scout movement.

A yellow iris

Branched bur reed

Sparganium erectum

This plant has spherical flowers. The smaller male flowers sit above the larger female flowers on the stem.

A branched bur reed

Lesser bulrush

Typha angustifolia

When bulrushes make seeds, the brown heads explode into fluff. Some birds like to use this material to line their nests as it helps to keep in the heat.

lesser bulrush

Reed sweet grass

Glyceria maxima

This species of plant is sometimes used to treat wastewater from sewers. The plant is used because it has a high capacity for absorbing nutrients.

reed sweet grass

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

The bright purple flowers of this plant are pollinated by long-tongued insects, including bees and butterflies.

purple loosestrife

Goat willow

Salix caprea

This tree is also known as pussy willow because the oval-shaped male flowers are initially covered in fine grey hair and resemble the paws of a cat.

goat willow

Common osier

Salix viminalis

The twigs of this tree are used in traditional basket-making. To harvest the twigs, the trees are repeatedly cut back in a process called coppicing.

common osier

White willow

Salix alba

Cricket bats are traditionally made from wood from white willow trees. This material is chosen because it is lightweight yet strong.

White willow

Sweet galingale

Cyperus longus

Paper was made from this species of plant in the nineteenth century. A fibre was extracted from the stalks and leaves.

Sweet galingale

Greater pond sedge

Carex riparia

This plant can spread not only through pollination of its seeds by the wind. It also has stems known as rhizomes that run horizontally underground and make new shoots.

Greater pond sedge

Sweet flag

Acorus calamus

This plant is thought to be native to India and was introduced to the British Isles in the 16th century. It is now found scattered throughout the UK in the wild.

Sweet flag

Water mint

Mentha aquatica

It is said that in the Middle Ages, water mint was strewn on the floor of banquet halls. As guests moved around, the leaves were trampled and released their fragrance.

Water mint

Water solider

Stratiotes aloides

This plant grows beneath the surface of the water for most of the year. During the summer, its stiff leaves emerge and look like the top of a pineapple.

Water soldier

White waterlily

Nymphaea alba

The leaves and flowers of this plant float on the water’s surface but the rest of the plant is submerged, growing from the mud at the bottom.

White waterlily

Attraction waterlily


As with other waterlilies, the floating leaves provide a landing pad for bees taking a drink while also giving shelter to aquatic life beneath the surface.

Attraction waterlily


Glasgow Science Centre gratefully acknowledges the support of NatureScot for our wetlands interpretation project.

NatureScot logo


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