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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Scirpus cyperinus (L.) Kunth)


SEDGE FAMILY (Cyperaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A perennial, densely tufted sedge with stems up to 2 m. high. The sturdy stems are smooth and more or less round with about 10 stem leaves above a fountain of large, slender, basal leaves. Sheaths are brownish or green and not tinged with red. The terminal inflorescence is subtended by two or more unequally spreading, modified leaves. Several to many rays of the inflorescence ascend from a fountain-like base and contain one to many tiny spikelets in small, compact clusters at the apex of the stem. Many brown, woolly bristles surround the nutlets, giving the cluster of spikelets a fuzzy appearance.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Woolgrass is not a true grass, but is actually a member of the sedge family, and is common in sedge meadows, particularly in and north of the vegetation tension zone. It is also frequent in bogs, alder thickets, shallow marshes and roadside ditches.

SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).

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