Description: Tufted or rhizomatous perennials. Culms nodeless, terete to triquetrous, glabrous.
Leaves mostly reduced to a mucro on a sheath, occasionally longer blade present; ligule membranous. Inflorescence pseudolateral, branched or head-like or a single spikelet; lowest involucral bract culm-like, usually erect.
Spikelets mostly sessile, many-flowered. Hypogynous bristles 2–6, filiform and retrorsely scabrous, or flattened and irregularly plumose. Stamens 2 or 3. Style 2- or 3-fid.
Nuts lenticular or trigonous, smooth.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 30 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 4 species, all States.
Previously more broadly circumscribed to include the smaller perennials and annuals that are now placed in Schoenoplectiella.
Text by K. L. Wilson (1993); edited KL Wilson (Nov 2015)
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Inflorescence compound, with the lowest involucral bract usually shorter than or equalling the inflorescence; culms terete; leaf blades absent or reduced||2|
|Inflorescence simple, head-like; the lowest involucral bract much exceeding the inflorescence; culms triquetrous; leaf blades present, to 20 cm long||Schoenoplectus pungens|
|2||Hypogynous bristles 5 or 6, filiform, retrorsely scabrous; glumes distinctly ciliate; culms grey-green||Schoenoplectus validus|
|Hypogynous bristles usually 4 (3–5), flattened or folded longitudinally, antrorsely plumose; glumes glabrous or rarely sparsely minutely ciliate; culms yellow-green|
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