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Scirpus cyperinus (L.) Kunth
Woolgrass, Cottongrass bulrush, Marsh bulrush, Teddybear paws
Synonym(s): Scirpus cyperinus var. condensatus, Scirpus cyperinus var. eriophorum, Scirpus cyperinus var. laxus, Scirpus cyperinus var. pelius, Scirpus cyperinus var. rubricosus, Scirpus eriophorum, Scirpus rubricosus
USDA Symbol: SCCY
Cottongrass bulrush or wool grass is a densely-tufted, clump-forming perennial, 3-6 ft. high, with an erect stem that is leafy up to the flower cluster. Many brown, woolly bristles surround the nutlets giving the cluster of spikelets in the terminal inflorescense a fuzzy appearance. A compound umbel, made up of many spikelets on branching rays, is at the top of a triangular or nearly round stem and is surrounded by spreading green, leaflike bracts; spikelets wooly in fruit.
This is one of several important species of wetland plants, many of them emergents, that provide food and cover for waterfowl and other wildlife. Nearly 30 species of Scirpus occur in eastern North America.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Grass/Grass-like Root Type: Fibrous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Venation: Parallel Size Notes:
3 to 5 feet Leaf:
Flowers in 6 to 12 inch clusters
Brown to Yellow-brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
, WV Canada: BC
, PE Native Distribution:
Nf. to Sask., s. to FL
& e. TX Native Habitat:
Wet meadows & swamps
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet soil to standing water.
BenefitUse Ornamental: The unusual flowers are attractive in moist gardens.
Use Wildlife: Seeds eaten by waterfowl. Roots eaten by muskrats and geese. Provides cover for nesting birds.
Use Other: Good for erosion control when planted en masse. Bulrush forms a buffer against wind and wave action, thus permitting other aquatic plants to grow in an otherwise unfavorable environment.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Picayune, MSNative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-12
Research By: TWC Staff