Soft Stem Bulrush
Soft-stem bulrush, also called great bulrush, is a native of the contiguous United States where it grows in areas where water often accumulates. Soft-stem bulrush prefers to grow in up to 12 inches of water making it an ideal candidate for those who have a pond or water feature in their landscaping. It grows equally well rather it is left in pots or planted in the ground. This dark green rush-like plant can grow up to eight feet tall with heights reaching six feet being quite common. Every plant can have a spread of more than four feet. Its produces leave blade that is less than 0.04 inches in diameter, and they can curve slightly on their outside edges. This plant produces small flowers protruding from the stem at the top of the plant. It also produces a small brownish fruit that is surrounded by reddish-brown scales. The inflorescence of this plant usually droops or arch downward, making it look particularly beautiful when the wind blows through it. The dark brown fruit often appears in late May and is present until September. Unlike hard-stem bulrush, the stems on this plant have a spongy feeling that can be easily compressed. This is a sun-loving plant, although it will tolerate partial shade. Left alone, this plant will spread creating new plants without the homeowner having to do any work. To take advantage of this characteristic, it is recommended that they not be planted closer than one foot apart.
Soft-stem bulrush is useful for controlling erosion as it has very deep roots helping to hold the soil in place. Native Americans often ate the tender shoots in the spring while they collected taller soft-stem bulrush to weave into bags or to create thin pads for sitting upon. Wildlife love to hide their homes in between these tall plants that they use for food. Additionally, waterfowl often love to hide amongst this plant's stems.