Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (C.C. Gmel.) Palla
soft-stemmed bulrush (softstem bulrush)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #85617)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial herb from long rhizomes; stems nearly round in cross-section, tapered, smooth, easily crushed between the fingers, 50-200 cm tall or more.
All near the base of the stems, few, to about 1/2 the length of the stems; sheaths brown to straw-coloured or mottled brownish, reddish near the base; blades usually lacking or 1 or 2, if present, C-shaped to flattened top to bottom, much shorter than the sheaths, the margins often minutely rough.
Spikes several to numerous, terminal, reddish-brown, 5-12 mm long, in unstalked clusters in a branching inflorescence, or some of them borne singly in compound, compact to open clusters, the branches of the inflorescence lax, sometimes drooping; involucral bracts solitary, rarely more, erect, reduced, not leaflike, thickly C-shaped to nearly circular in cross-section, tapered, with sometimes minutely rough margins, to as much as 7 cm long, appearing like an extension of the stem.
Scales brown to purplish-brown, with numerous, short, red-brown linear marks, (2) 2.5-3 (3.5) mm long, smooth, egg-shaped, the margins entire to somewhat irregular or jagged or short-fringed and short-awned; perianth bristles 6, brown, about equalling to surpassing the achenes; achenes plano-convex, mostly 2-2.3 mm long, not completely concealed by the scales at maturity, abruptly sharp-pointed.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Green
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
840 134 1320
Slope Gradient (%)
0 0 20

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

26 3 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
7 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(13), BWBS(2), CWH(3), ICH(9), IDF(46), MS(9), PP(11), SBPS(1), SBS(1)

Habitat and Range

Marshes, lakeshores and streams in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent throughout BC; N to AK and YT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, SC, FL, MS, TX, NM, AZ and CA; C America.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Schoenoplectus lacustris subsp. creber (Fern.) A.& D. L÷ve
Schoenoplectus lacustris subsp. tabernaemontani (K. C. Gmel.) A.& D. L÷ve
Schoenoplectus lacustris subsp. validus (Vahl) T. Koyama
Schoenoplectus validus (Vahl) A. L÷ve & D. L÷ve
Schoenoplectus validus subsp. creber (Fernald) A. L÷ve & D. L÷ve
Schoenoplectus validus subsp. luxurians (Miq.) Sojßk
Scirpus lacustris subsp. creber (Fern.) T. Koyama
Scirpus lacustris subsp. glaucus (Rchb.) Hartm.
Scirpus lacustris subsp. tabernaemontani (K.C. Gmel.) Syme
Scirpus lacustris subsp. validus (Vahl) T. Koyama
Scirpus lacustris subsp. validus
Scirpus tabernaemontani C.C. Gmel.
Scirpus validus Vahl
Scirpus validus var. creber Fern.