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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

62. Cyperaceae, the Sedge Family

11. Scirpus L. -- Bulrush

6. Scirpus microcarpus Presl -- Redstem bulrush


Perennial from stout creeping rhizomes, the stems arising singly or few together, 5-13 dm tall, weakly trigonous. Leaves sheathing most of the culm; blades ascending, the upper ones usually surpassing the inflorescence, 6-11 mm wide; sheaths partly red-tinged; involucral bracts 3-4, foliaceous, the longest to 25 cm long. Inflorescence a terminal umbelliform cyme, rather loose and spreading, containing numerous glomerules of 4-many spikelets, the glomerules clustered at the ends of pedicels to 10(15) cm long; spikelets very numerous, 3-5 mm long, 1-1.5 mm thick; scales hyaline except for the green midvein, blackish on the sides, 1.2-1.6 mm long, acute to obtuse, mucronulate; perianth of 4-6, white to tan bristles, exceeding the achene body; stamens 2, the exserted anthers ca. 1 mm long, the filaments often adherent to the achene; styles bifid. Achenes light green to pale tan, lenticular, 0.8-1.3 mm long, 0.5-0.7 mm wide, the beak minute. Jun--Jul. Stream banks, wet meadows, marshes and springs, where water is fresh; frequent in the n part, uncommon s and w; (Newf. to B.C., s to WV, n IL, IA, NE, NM and CA). S. rubrotinctus Fern.

The phase of S. microcarpus occurring in this region is var. rubrotinctus (Fern.) M. E. Jones.

GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Section -- Scirpus maritimus L. -- Prairie bulrush
Return to Family -- Cyperaceae - The Sedge Family
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