Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani
great bulrush, soft-stem bulrush

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to the Atlantic Coast; also in Central and South America.

Habitat: Marshes and muddy shores of lakes and streams at lower elevations; tolerant of alkali.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Stout, herbaceous perennials from rhizomes, the culms 1-2.5 m. tall, soft, terete.


Leaves few, toward the base of the culm, with well-developed sheath and short blade.


Inflorescence umbel-like, open, with spikelets in small, sessile clusters or singly on the lax branches of the inflorescence; spikelets shiny, reddish-brown, 7-10 mm. long; principle involucral bract solitary, 2-8 cm. long, erect, like an extension of the culm, green; lesser bracts small, chaffy and brownish; scales subtending the flowers scarious, 2.5-3 mm. long, with linear, reddish-brown marks on a brown background, not wholly concealing the achenes; perianth of 2-6 fragile, barbellate bristles; stamens usually 3; style bifid or trifid.


Achenes 2.0-2.3 mm. long, plano-convex or unequally triangular.

Accepted Name:
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (C.C. Gmel.) Palla
Publication: Verh. K.K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien. 38(Sitzungsber.): 49. 1888.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Schoenoplectus validus (Vahl) Á. Löve & D. Löve
Scirpus lacustris L. ssp. creber (Fernald) T. Koyama
Scirpus lacustris L. ssp. glaucus (Sm.) Hartm.
Scirpus lacustris L. ssp. tabernaemontani (C.C. Gmel.) Syme
Scirpus lacustris L. ssp. validus (Vahl) T. Koyama
Scirpus tabernaemontani C.C. Gmel.
Scirpus validus Vahl [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani atlas page.

CalPhotos: Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani photos.

USDA Plants: Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani information.

23 photographs:
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