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Schoenoplectus californicus (California bulrush)
Romfh, Peggy

Schoenoplectus californicus

Schoenoplectus californicus (C.A. Mey.) Palla

California Bulrush, California Club-rush, Giant Bulrush

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Synonym(s): Scirpus californicus, Scirpus californicus var. tereticulmis

USDA Symbol: scca11

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I)

California Club-rush or California Bulrush is a stout, emergent wetland plant to 3-12 ft. with dark-green stems and reddish-brown tassels of flowers and fruits. Leaves are reduced to basal sheaths.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall.
Leaf: Yellow-Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , FL , GA , HI , IL , KS , LA , MS , NM , OK , OR , SC , TN , TX
Native Distribution: CA coast and Central Valley; possibly indigenous to Hawaii
Native Habitat: Freshwater marshes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Aquatic: yes
Soil Description: Standing water or wet, mucky soils.
Conditions Comments: Used in wetland restorations. Bulrush forms a buffer against wind and wave action, thus permitting other aquatic plants to grow in an otherwise unfavorable environment.


Deer Resistant: High


Description: Germinating seed in water at 86-90 degrees in continous high light gives good results.
Seed Collection: Store fresh, undried seeds in water in refrigerator 6 months.
Seed Treatment: See seed storage notes.
Commercially Avail: yes

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 on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 36 - Jepson eFlora (2019) The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Schoenoplectus californicus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Schoenoplectus californicus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Schoenoplectus californicus


Record Modified: 2023-02-27
Research By: NPC

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