Small-fruited bulrush, Scirpus microcarpus




     Western, north central, and northeast United States; also along the coast of British Columbia (3 and 5)


Climate, elevation

     Moist, mild climate; low to middle elevations (3)


Local occurrence (where, how common)

     Often grows in marshes, lake edges, swamps, wet meadows, forested wetlands, sloughs, stream banks (1 and 3)


Habitat preferences

     Often in mucky soils (1)

     Tolerates shade, and can also be found in clearings (1)


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

     Can tolerate fluctuating water levels and prolonged soil saturation (2)

     Tolerates shade

     Can be found in communities of varying successional stages


Associated species

     Carex obnupta , Juncus effuses, Cornus stolonifera, Equisetum arvense, Rubus spectabilis, Lysichitum americanum (1 and 4)


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

     Seed (1)

     Rhizomes (4)


Collection restrictions or guidelines

     Collect seeds in late summer or early fall

     Harvest rhizomes while plant is dormant in the winter (4)


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

     Cold stratification for 2-3 months under moist conditions (4)


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

     Sow seeds into flats, transplant when seedlings are two inches tall (2)

     Rhizomes can be planted immediately on-site, or can be potted and grown for later division (4)

Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

     Silty/mucky soil with high water holding capacity (2)


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

     Rhizomes (2 and 4)

     Direct seeding (2)

     Established seedlings


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

     Soil should be kept consistently moist (4)


Sources cited

1.      Guard, B. Jennifer. Wetland Plants of Oregon and Washington. Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, B.C. 1995.


2.      Leigh, Michael. Grow Your Own Native Landscape. Native Plant Salvage Project, WSU Cooperative Extension-Thurston County. Revised edition, June 1999.


3.      Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast-Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. B.C. Minisrty of Forest and Lone Pine Publishing. 1994.


4.      Stevens, M. and R. Vanbianchi. 1993. Restoring Wetlands in Washington: A Guidebook for Wetland Restoration, Planning and Implementation. Washington State Department of Ecology Publication 93-17, 110 p.


5.     USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.


Data compiled by:

Crystal Elliot, 6/3/03