Hardstem Bulrush

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Hard Stem Bulrush–Scirpus acutus

Hard Stem Bullrush has the botanical name Scirpus acutus. This plant is native to some locations in the U.S. in areas near water or swamplands. This plant grows best in zones 3 through 9. The plant has thick stems and leaves that have an appearance of long blades of grass. The leaves and stem are olive green to medium green. The leaves or fronds are 1 to 2 inches wide and begin growing at the base of the plant. The plant flowers through the summer from June through September and one bulb for the stalk. The plant’s flowers have small sepals or petals that have bristles in a tan, white color. These flowers grow from a greenish bract that stems like, and the flowers can have a reddish tint as they mature. It is a plan that grows in clumps and likes full to partial sunlight. The soil for this plant does not need to be well draining, and it does grow good near or around Pete Moss. This is a hardy plant that proliferates in most areas and is easy enough for the beginning gardener. The plant will spread quickly during the season and seeds that come from the plant as the flower fades. The plant will return annually and can grow between 3 and 6 feet tall. This plant has the appearance of a fancy grass type landscaping plant that grows well in wet soil and near water like ponds or lakes. This is a type of pant that can be used for driveway and another border plant, though pot planting is not recommended because of the size. The plant is one that was used in the past by Native Americans for food and the leaves to make baskets, mats and other items.

When woven and dyed, hard stem bulrush is used to make duck decoys, clothing, hats, mats, bowls, boats, and baskets that were used by the Native Americans. Some ancient American tribes were also known to use the hard stem bulrush to construct their houses. This homage is still respected o this day. Coast Miwok, Bay Miwok, and the Ohlone people use the hard stem bulrush to manufacture canoes and boats for transportation across the San Fransisco Bay using wetland and marine resources. Northern tribes also used the hard stem bulrush to make canoes.

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