Schoenoplectus californicus

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Schoenoplectus californicus
California bulrush
Scirpus californicus flowers 2005-03-24.jpg
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Schoenoplectus
Species: S. californicus
Binomial name
Schoenoplectus californicus
(C.A. Mey.) Steud.

Numerous, see text

Schoeneoplectus californicus is a species of sedge known by the common names California bulrush and giant bulrush. It is also sometimes called "tule", but the closely related Schoenoplectus acutus is the more correct owner of that name.


Schoenoplectus californicus is a rhizomed water plant found in marshy areas from southern and western North America to South America and on Pacific islands including some of those in the Hawaiian and Cook chains. It has tall, thin, dark green stems which are usually triangular in cross-section and woolly, bristly tan or brown flowers in panicle inflorescences.


A notable subspecies is the Totora, Schoenoplectus californicus ssp. tatora. This is famous for making up the floating islands on which the Uros people of Lake Titicaca dwell, as well as occurring on isolated Easter Island in the Pacific.


Obsolete scientific names for this plant include:

  • Dichromena atrosanguinea
  • Elytrospermum californicus
  • Malacochaete assimilis
  • Malacochaete chilense
  • Malacochaete oligostachya
  • Malacochaete riparia
  • Malacochaete sanguinolenta
  • Malacochaete tatora (for ssp. tatora)
  • Schoenoplectus riparius
  • Schoenoplectus tatora (for ssp. tatora)
  • Schoenoplectus totora (lapsus, for ssp. tatora)
  • Scirpus californicus
  • Scirpus chamissonis (for var. chamissonis)
  • Scirpus decipiens
  • Scirpus pseudotriquetes
  • Scirpus rigidus
  • Scirpus riparius
  • Scirpus tereticulmis (for var. tereticulmis)

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