Wool Grass (Scirpus cyperinus)

Wool Grass Sedge 

Wool Grass (Scirpus cyperinus) is a member of the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) and order Cyperales. The genus name refers to bulrushes. There are several varieties of this plant. A few stands of Wool Grass are found on the northeast corner of French Hill Pond. The photograph above was taken in 2009 before the seeds ripened.

The flowers are in compound umbels that are surrounded by spreading bracts resembling spear-like leaves. These bracts help distinguish this sedge from other sedges. The umbels grow from the top of a stem that is triangular at the top. The lower part of the stem may remain somewhat triangular or become rounded. The leaves are arranged in an alternate pattern. A leaf is about half an inch (1.3centimeters) wide and can be up to two feet (60 centimeters) long. This plant can grow as high as five feet (150 centimeters) and a mature plant is usually at least three feet (90 centimeters) high.

The flowers are small, about a quarter of an inch (6 millimeters) long and reddish brown or brown. This plant flowers from August to October.A wooly-like fruit is produced, whence the name. The mature Wool Grass fruit is shown in the next photograph.

Ripe Wool Grass

The next photograph shows a detail of the Wool Grass Fruit. One can see from this photograph the reason this plant is called Wool Grass. Notice the tiny, white seeds that have formed among what appears to be wool balls.

Wool Grass Fruit Detail

This plant provides food and cover for a variety of animals. It helps filter runoff water before it enters the pond and its roots help stabilize the pond shore.

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