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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Scirpus fluviatifis (Torrey) Gray)

River Bulrush

SEDGE FAMILY (Cyperaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A stout, perennial herb from a thick rhizome with tuber-like enlargements. The stems are sharply triangular and leafy, growing to a height of 2 m. Leaf blades are 8-12 mm. wide and strongly M-shaped in cross section. The spikelets are 10-25 mm. long, and sessile or on stalks to 10 cm. long. Nutlets are 4- 5 mm. long, distinctly 3-angled, with a beak and 6 barbed bristles at the base. In flower from July to September.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: River bulrush is a persistent emergent found in deep and shallow marshes; wet shores and riverbanks; in fresh and mixosaline waters. It is a common dominant in Mississippi River backwaters. River bulrush is a favorite food of muskrats. Wildlife values are similar to those described for other bulrushes.

SOURCE: Fernald (1970); Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Voss (1972).

Previous Section -- Softstem Bulrush (Scirpus validus Vahl)
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Next Section -- Three-square Bulrush (Scirpus pungens Vahl.)

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