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Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (Softstem bulrush)
Smith, R.W.

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (C.C. Gmel.) Palla

Softstem Bulrush, Soft-stem Club-rush, Great Bulrush

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Synonym(s): Schoenoplectus lacustris ssp. creber, Schoenoplectus lacustris ssp. tabernaemontani, Schoenoplectus lacustris ssp. validus, Schoenoplectus validus, Schoenoplectus validus ssp. creber, Schoenoplectus validus ssp. luxurians, Scirpus lacustris ssp. creber, Scirpus lacustris ssp. glaucus, Scirpus lacustris ssp. tabernaemontani, Scirpus lacustris ssp. validus, Scirpus tabernaemontani, Scirpus validus, Scirpus validus var. creber

USDA Symbol: scta2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), HI (N), PR (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

Soft-stem Club-rush or Great Bulrush is a 3-10 ft. perennial rush with soft, weak stems; light-green leaves; and orange-brown, many-flowered spikelets & scaled fruit arranged in drooping clusters.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Brown
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec


USA: AK , AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , HI , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Native Distribution: Nf. to AK, s. to FL, Central America & n. CA
Native Habitat: Brackish or fresh, shallow water marshes; wet prairies

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Aquatic: yes
Soil Description: Wet soil to standing water.
Conditions Comments: Tolerant of alkali. Bulrush forms a buffer against wind and wave action, thus permitting other aquatic plants to grow in an otherwise unfavorable environment.


Use Wildlife: Nesting cover for waterbirds and food for muskrats.
Use Other: An emergent aquatic.
This plant is good for habitat reconstruction and erosion control along areas with occasional flooding.
Using twining and under-over techniques, fine mats and bags were woven from the leaves and stalks. The fine mats were used inside the wigwam to cover the lower walls, or for sitting and eating upon.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds


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

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-27
Research By: TWC Staff

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