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Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani   (C.C. Gmel. ) Palla
[=Scirpus validus Vahl]
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Height: 3-10 feet
Family: Cyperaceae - Sedge Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August
Culms: Erect, stout, unbranched, round in cross-section, to 1 inch in diameter, soft, pale green, glabrous.
Leaves: Mostly sheathing and without blades, upper ones sometimes with tapered blades.
Inflorescences: Umbels, panicle-like, loose, much-branched, terminal, consisting of numerous compact clusters of 1-5 spikelets on rays .5 to 2.5 inches long; bract usually solitary, erect, leaf-like, round in cross-section, shorter than inflorescences, appearing as a continuation of culm.
Spikelets: Sessile or stalked, egg-shaped to cylindric, to 1/2 inch long, many-flowered; tips nearly pointed; flowers perfect; scales ovate to nearly round, as long or slightly longer than achenes, reddish brown, midribs greenish; tips abruptly short-pointed; bristles 4-6, at bases of flowers, as long or longer than achenes; stamens 3; styles 3-cleft.
Fruits: Achenes, egg-shaped, 3-angled, brown, 1-seeded.
Habitat: Marshy areas, pond and stream edges, and wet roadside ditches, most abundant in shallow water or moisture-saturated soils.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Uses: Native Americans used the roots and stem bases for food and weaved baskets and mats from the stems.
Comments: Soft-stem bulrush often grows in colonies. The roots spread under water or below the surface of the soil and form a mat of new shoots. The seeds can remain dormant for several years.

Soft-stem bulrush inflorescence
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Soft-stem bulrush
175 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Soft-stem bulrush spikelets
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Soft-stem bulrush
143 KB
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas