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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

62. Cyperaceae, the Sedge Family

11. Scirpus L. -- Bulrush

12. Scirpus tabernaemontani Gmel. -- Softstem bulrush

Similar to S. acutus; culms rather stout near the base, terete, 1-3.5 m long, light green, easily crushed when fresh. Leaves consisting of 4-5 basal sheaths, the upper ones with a blade to 7 cm long; principal involucral bract erect, 1.5-11 cm long. Inflorescence a panicle of up to 235 spikelets, appearing lateral, spreading, rarely congested, lax and drooping; spikelets solitary or paired on the pedicels, rarely in glomerules of 3 or more, reddish-brown, 4-13 mm long, 3-4 mm thick; scales suffused with reddish-brown to dark brown, 1.8-3.2 mm long, scarious, often very finely ciliate on the margins, obtuse or rounded, usually mucronate, the mucro to 0.5 mm long; perianth of 6 bristles, mostly equaling or exceeding the achene body; stamens 3; styles bifid. Achenes light green to dark brown or black, lenticular, unequally biconvex, the body 1.5-2.1 mm long, 1.3-1.6 mm wide, the beak minute, to 0.2 mm long. Jun--mid Aug. Same habitats as S. acutus but mostly in fresh water and more often in riparian and stream habitats; common, often abundant; (Newf. to s AK, s to S.Amer.). S. validus Vahl
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key

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