Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Scirpus cyperinus (L.) Kunth
CYPERACEAE (Sedge Family)
EtymologyScirpus is the Latin for clubrush; cyperinus is from the Greek for sedge.
Synonyms (Common Name)Woolly Sedge
DescriptionWool grass is not a grass; it is a perennial sedge although its stem is barely triangular. A large sedge, it grows to 6' tall, often in dense clumps. A tall, erect stem supports a nodding terminal inflorescence with many branches of rusty-woolly spikelets that give wool grass its name and its unmistakable appearance.
Wetland indicator statusFACW+
Plant Heightto 6 feet
LeavesBasal leaves: more than 16" long, narrow, rough-margined; 3-5 leaf-like bracts radiate from the same point below inflorescence, and have drooping tips.
Flower/InflorescenceConspicuous;flower cluster terminal, to 12" long, multi-branched; branches radiate from a central point, then radiate again, drooping, with 6-12 spikelets per branch; the mostly sessile spikelets are covered with reddish-brown scales; mature spikelets rusty-woolly.
FruitAchene, white to yellow-gray; with 6 woolly bristles that extend beyond the scales.
Fruiting PeriodJuly-October.
HabitatBogs, fens, marshes, wooded swamps, wet meadows.
RangeNewfoundland to British Columbia; south to Florida and Texas.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett