Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Scirpus microcarpus
panicled bulrush, small fruited bulrush

Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east in Canada and northern United States to New England.

Habitat: Wet ground, ditches, shorelines, streambanks, and other riparian areas from low to moderate elevations in the mountains

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Coarse, herbaceous perennials from stout, creeping rhizomes, the stems arising singly or a few together, 6-15 dm. tall, obscurely three-sided.


Stems leafy, the leaf blades flat, grass-like, 8-15 mm. wide and up to several dm. long, the sheaths tinted with reddish-purple.


Inflorescence a compound, terminal cyme, with very numerous spikelets 4-6 mm. long, sessile in small clusters on peduncles; inflorescence subtended by several unequal, leaf-like, sheathless bracts, the largest of these 1-3 dm. long; flowers subtended by translucent, greenish-black scales about 1.5 mm. long; perianth of 4-6 slender bristles, shorter than the scale; stamens 3; style bifid.


Achenes lenticular, pale, 1.0-1.2 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Scirpus microcarpus J. Presl & C. Presl
Publication: Reliq. Haenk. 1: 195. 1828.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Scirpus microcarpus J. Presl & C. Presl var. longispicatus M. Peck
Scirpus microcarpus J. Presl & C. Presl var. rubrotinctus (Fernald) M.E. Jones
Scirpus rubrotinctus Fernald
Scirpus sylvaticus L. var. digynus Boeckeler
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Scirpus microcarpus in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Scirpus microcarpus checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Scirpus microcarpus information.

E-Flora BC: Scirpus microcarpus atlas page.

CalPhotos: Scirpus microcarpus photos.

USDA Plants: Scirpus microcarpus information.

33 photographs:
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