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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

62. Cyperaceae, the Sedge Family

11. Scirpus L. -- Bulrush

5. Scirpus maritimus L. -- Prairie bulrush


Like S. fluviatilis in most aspects, differing mainly as follows: Smaller in stature, 3-9 dm tall. Leaves 3-9 mm wide; sheaths truncate or concave at the mouth, the ventral nerves gradually divergent at the summit; involucral bracts 3-5, the longest one sometimes erect, to 30 cm long. Inflorescence containing (2)3-20 spikelets, these all sessile in a single cluster, or some solitary or in glomerules of 2-4 spikelets on pedicels to 4 cm long; spikelets 10-25 mm long, 6-9 mm thick; scales 5-7 mm long, usually bifid, aristate, the awn to 2 mm long, mostly straight; perianth of 2-6 coppery bristles, reaching 1/2 the length of the achene body. Achenes tan or greenish-brown to brown, lenticular, 2.5-3.7 mm long, 2-2.4(3) mm wide, the beak inconspicuous, to 0.3 mm long. Jun--Aug. In shallow water or mud in the same habitats as S. fluviatilis, but especially abundant in brackish or saline situations; common; (Interruptedly circumboreal). S. paludosus A. Nels.

North American plants are distinguished from Eurasian S. maritimus as var. paludosus (A. Nels.) Kukenth.

GIF- Species Photo/Drawing
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Section -- Scirpus heterochaetus Chase -- Slender bulrush
Return to Family -- Cyperaceae - The Sedge Family
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