Scirpus validus Vahl.
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (K.C. Gmel.) Palla
Softstem bulrush is a persistent emergent found in deep and shallow marshes, lakes, streams, and occasionally bogs. The stems are 1-3 m. in height, cylindrical, light green, with a few sheathing vestigial leaves at the base. Stems may be 1-1.5 cm. thick and are large-chambered so they can be easily crushed between the thumb and index finger. Spikelets number several to many, and are 5-10 mm. long and oval. Nutlets are 1.6-2.1(2.4)mm. long with 6 basal bristles about equal in length to the nutlet. It flowers from June to September. It may form large stands or be intermixed with other emergent species.
The seeds of soft-stem bulrush are eaten by waterfowl and used for nesting and cover for wildlife. Roots can be ground into flour or eaten whole. Syrup can be extracted from the roots..
Soft-stem bulrush grows in marshes, along lake and stream shores, and in wet meadows. It grows in fresh or brackish water. Soils are usually poorly-drained , or continually saturated. .
Soft-stem bulrush reproduces by both rhizomes and seeds . It reproduces well from seed stored in the seedbank . Soil-stored seed can remain viable for as long as 20 years . In the lab, seed viability in dry storage is more than 2 years . Seed generally ripen from June through September.