Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Scirpus pallidus (Britton) Fernald
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: June-August
- Field Marks: The flower clusters are subtended by several leaf-like bracts that are unequal in size, by spikelets not more than 1/6 inch long and arranged in clusters, and by awn-tipped scales in the spikelets.
- Habitat: Along streams, wet ditches, marshes.
- Habit: Perennial herb with short, stout rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, triangular, smooth, up to 5 feet tall.
- Leaves: Several, alternate, elongated, narrow, usually rough along the edges, up to 3/4 inch wide; sheaths green or pale green.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets, with several spikelets in clusters, some of the clusters sessile, others on long stalks, subtended by several leafy bracts of different lengths; each spikelet up to 1/6 inch long.
- Scales: Narrow, greenish black, up to 1/8 inch long, with a rough awn at the tip; bristles 6.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 3-cleft.
- Fruits: Achenes white, triangular, smooth, about 1/20 inch long.
- Notes: This species is very similar to the eastern S. atrovirens from which it differs by its longer scales with longer awns. The achenes are eaten by waterfowl.
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