Threesquare Bulrush (Scirpus pungens)

Wetland Indicator Status: OBL Other names: Common Threesquare, Three-square Synonym: Schoenoplectus pungens Note: sometimes lumped together with Chairmakers rush (Scirpus americanus)

Threesquare Bulrush Spikelet
The spikelet of Threesquare Bulrush (Schoenoplectus pungens)

Threesquare bulrush (Scirpus pungens) gets its name from the three-sided stems that are triangular in cross-section and about 3 feet (1 meter) in length.    The shorter nature of this bulrush makes it unable to tolerate deeper water.  Although it is said to have no substrate preference, I find the most densely growing stands growing in sand.  Its triangular stems seem to give it strength to tolerate breaking waves along the shore.  It also grows a little later in the season, which means it will see less high water in spring. Threesquare bulrush is good for wildlife, for both food and cover.  Along the lakeshore pictured below were hundreds of leopard frogs, which took cover in the rushes as I approached. When growing in standing water bulrushes can provide spawning areas for bluegills and other sunfishes.

Three Square Bulrush Bed
Threesquare Bulrush and other emergent plants along a lakeshore.