Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Softstem Bulrush (Scirpus validus)
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: May-September.
- Field Marks: This tall bulrush has a single bract that is a short continuation of the stem beyond the spikelets. The spikelets have distinct stalks.
- Habitat: Along rivers and streams, around ponds and lakes, wet prairies, sloughs.
- Habit: Robust perennial herb with stout rhizomes.
- Stems: Erect, not triangular, smooth, soft, up to 9 feet tall.
- Flowers: One per scale, with several scales per spikelet, each spikelet up to 1/2 inch long, forming a cluster near the top of the stem, with one bract that is a short continuation of the stem beyond the spikelets.
- Scales: Ovate, round-tipped but with a short point, somewhat hairy, up to 1/2 inch long.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: 1; styles 2; ovary superior, subtended by 4-6 barbed bristles.
- Fruits: Achenes brown, about as broad as long, about 1/10-1/8 inch long.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by waterfowl.
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