Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Schoenoplectus pungens
chairmaker's club-rush, common three-square

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to the Atlantic Coast; Europe.

Habitat: Marshes and wet, low ground; tolerent of alkali.

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Herbaceous perennials from rhizomes, the culms triangular, 1.5-10 dm. tall, somewhat scattered.


Leaves several, all near the base, firm, usually elongate and channeled or folded and 1-2 mm. wide, or flat and 2-4 mm. wide.


: Inflorescence a compact cluster of 1-6 sessile spikelets, 7-20 mm. long, subtended by a green bract 2-15 cm. long, like a continuation of the stem; flowers subtended by thin, translucent scales, yellowish- or reddish-brown to blackish-purple, the mid-rib exerted as a short awn; perianth bristles 4-6, unequal; stamens usually 3; style bifid or trifid.


Achenes 2.2-3.3 mm. long, including the stylar beak, and 1.6-2.3 mm. wide.

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

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Scirpus olneyi A. Gray, misapplied [HC]
Scirpus pungens Vahl
Additional Resources:

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

WA Flora Checklist: Schoenoplectus pungens checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Schoenoplectus pungens information.

E-Flora BC: Schoenoplectus pungens atlas page.

CalPhotos: Schoenoplectus pungens photos.

USDA Plants: Schoenoplectus pungens information.

12 photographs:
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