Scirpus cyperinus

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: wool grass 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Green maturing to brown
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Wet Soil

Culture

Easily grown in moist to wet soils including shallow standing water in full sun to part shade. Prefers some light shade in hot summer climates. In large water gardens, it may be grown in submerged containers. May also be planted in the mud at the margins of ponds or streams or in bog gardens. Clumps may be divided in spring. Naturalizes by creeping rhizomes, and, if left undisturbed in optimum growing conditions, will spread to form colonies. Will self-sow in the landscape. New plants are best started in spring or fall.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Scirpus cyperinus, commonly called woolgrass, is a grass-like, rhizomatous, emergent aquatic perennial of the sedge family that grows in dense slowly-spreading tussocks of arching basal green leaves with upright flowering stems (culms) rising to 3-5’ tall. It is native to wet meadows, swamps, sloughs, marshes, bottomland prairies, stream/pond margins and wet disturbed areas in eastern North America (Steyermark). Each culm (unbranched and three-angled to rounded) has 5-10 ascending to spreading leaf blades (each to 32” long and ¼ to ½” wide), and is topped in early summer (late June-July) by an inflorescence (compound umbel to 4-6” long and as wide) of dark green spikelets which mature, by late summer (August-September) as the seed develops, to reddish brown with an attractive soft woolly appearance resulting from the brown bristles of the achenes (seeds). Foliage turns yellow-brown in fall. The woolly inflorescences remain attractive well into winter.

Genus name is an old Latin name for this plant.

Specific epithet is in reference to the family of this sedge (Cyperaceae).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Reddish-brown inflorescences are ornamentally attractive in fall and winter. Large water gardens or bog gardens. Edges of ponds or streams. Moist low spots. Rain gardens.