T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Schoenoplectus californicus (California bulrush)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Schoenoplectus
Species: S. californicus
Binomial name: Schoenoplectus californicus
Synonyms: Scirpus californicus
Common names: California bulrush, Southern bulrush, Giant bulrush

Schoenoplectus californicus is a very aggressive invasive perennial sedge with knotty rhizomes and inhabits marshy areas, coastal river banks and estuaries. It is native to the southern and western United States as well as Mexico, Central America, South America, Easter Island, and the Falkland Islands. It is now naturalised in New Zealand. In New Zealand, it is restricted to the Waikato River delta area, Northern Wairoa River and has been widely planted (usually in error as people thought it was the indigenous S. tabernaemontani) for use in wetlands treating effluent. The native S. tabernaemontani has bluish-green stems and erect flower stalks that do not droop.
It is spread in many ways including water, wind, contaminated soil and feed, machinery, wildlife and it can form dense beds that colonise mobile sand deposits and river margins where it displaces native sedges by out-competing and suppressing their growth.
Schoenoplectus californicus has bright-green stems, growing up to 3 m tall. The stems (culms) are terete (circular) in the lower third to half and trigonous (triangular cross-section) in the upper 2/3 to half. Its leaves form sheathing bracts (about 30 cm long) at the base of the stems. This sheath becomes loose and papery.\
During November to April, it has a pendant inflorescence of cream to grey coloured nut like seeds (2.9 mm long) on the stems tip.

For more details download a published article by Peter J. de Lange, Rhys O. Gardner, Paul D. Champion & Chris C. Tanner (1998) Schoenoplectus californicus (Cyperaceae) in New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Botany, 36:3,319-327

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/