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Schoenoplectus californicus
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California Bulrush
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Schoenoplectus californicus

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About California Bulrush (Schoenoplectus californicus) California Bulrush (Schoenoplectus californicus) is a native perennial herb in the Cyperaceae (Sedge) family that grows in northern, southern and central California. It is also found in Oregon and across the southern states to Florida. It is a definitive species of freshwater or brackish marshes, found in perennially inundated areas such as lakes and ponds, but generally not in flowing water. It tolerates standing water several feet deep where it creates sometimes massive patches. It occurs at elevations from sea level to 4,000 feet, often but not always near the coast. It is an aggressive spreader from its rhizomes and will quickly occupy all suitable area.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
6 - 12 ft (1.8 - 3.7 m)



Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Shallow freshwater or brackish marsh on the margin of lakes or ponds, estuaries, large springs or seeps, and in drainage ditches


Elevation ?
-13' - 4858'

Annual Precip. ?
3.4" - 47.1"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 1.46"

Coldest Month ?
41.6° F - 61.6° F

Hottest Month ?
60.1° F - 88.7° F

Humidity ?
0.28 vpd - 42.78 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates any saturated or inundated soil

Soil PH
5.0 - 9.0

Standing, Standing

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 20° F

Companion Plants
Due to its spreading tendency, use with caution in garden ponds or bioswales. Use with other marsh plants such as Carex sp., Spikerush (Eleocharis sp.), Rush (Juncus sp.), SaltMarsh Fleabane (Pluchea odorata), Arrowhead (Sagittaria sp.), Willow (Salix sp.), and Cattail (Typha sp.)

Wildlife Attracted
This is an important species to many wetland-marsh species

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
Keep moist
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Pruning is usually not required, but spreading rhizomes may need to be removed periodically to restrain its aggressive tendencies

Common uses
Bogs and Ponds, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Scirpus californicus

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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