Common name: California Tule
Schoenoplectus californicus (C.A.Mey.) Palla APNI*
Description: Tall, rhizomatous perennial. Culms triquetrous below the inflorescence, then trigonous to terete towards the base, darkish green.
Leaves reduced; sheaths to 30 cm long.
Inflorescence umbel-like, with branches to 10 cm long, with 1–5 spikelets per branch; involucral bract much shorter than inflorescence. Spikelets ovoid to ellipsoid, acute, 5–12 mm long, 2.5–3 mm diam. Glumes obtuse, 2.5–3 mm long, with sparsely ciliate and hyaline margins. Hypogynous bristles 2–4, flat below, to filiform above, spreading- to retrorse-plumose on margins, slightly shorter than nut. Style 2-fid.
Nut broad-obovoid to broad-ellipsoid, plano-convex, pale brown to grey-brown, c. 3 mm long, c. 1.7 mm diam.
Distribution and occurrence: Naturalised on lower North Coast: Williams River at Raymond Terrace and Kooragang Island near Newcastle. Native to western North America, south to Chile and Argentina. In Hawai'i and Easter Island (possibly introduced). Naturalised in New Zealand.
Damp situations, e.g. river bank in shallow brackish water; recorded in water 2 m deep in New Zealand.
NSW subdivisions: *NC
Used in South America for making reed boats. Cultivated in New Zealand in artificial wetlands for waste-water management (de Lange et al. (1998) New Zealand J. Botany 36: 319-327). Could become a weed owing to its dense, tall stands.
Text by Karen Wilson 2004
Taxon concept: Karen Wilson 2004
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.