Schoenoplectus subulatus (Vahl) Lye APNI*
Synonyms: Scirpus litoralis Schrad. APNI*
Schoenoplectus litoralis subsp. thermalis (Trab.) Murb. APNI*
Description: Tall, rhizomatous perennial. Culms trigonous below inflorescence but terete for most of length, green, 60–150 cm high, 3–10 mm diam.
Inflorescence umbel-like, with branches 2–8 cm long, smooth or scabrous, with 1–3 spikelets per branch; involucral bract 2–10 cm long. Spikelets oblong-ovoid, acute, 8–15 mm long, 3–4 mm diam. Glumes obtuse or slightly retuse, shortly mucronate, 3.5–4 mm long, glabrous or rarely sparsely ciliate, red-brown, with hyaline margins. Hypogynous bristles 3–6 flat or folded longitudinally, antrorsely plumose, about as long as or slightly exceeding nut. Style 2-fid.
Nut ellipsoid to obovoid, unequally biconvex, c. 2 mm long, 1.2–1.5 mm diam., smooth, shining, grey-brown to dark brown.
Distribution and occurrence: Scattered, south to near Bega. Also in Qld, NT, SA, WA; Africa, India, Malesia, Marianas, New Caledonia.
Grows along streams and in coastal lakes and open swamps (in fresh or brackish water).
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC
Other Australian states: Qld W.A. S.A. N.T.
Was formerly included in S. litoralis, which has culms triangular in cross-section and is found from the Mediterranean region east to China. Some botanists unite the two taxa, in which case the correct name is Schoenoplectus subulatus. Differs from S. validus most obviously in culm colour and shape and the form of hypogynous bristles. Differs from the introduced S. californicus in being generally less robust (see key for other differences).
Text by K. L. Wilson 1993; edited KL Wilson July 2006, Aug 2012, July 2022.
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993)
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