New Mexico Wildflowers: Sedge Family



Images are organized in alphabetical order by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.

Sedge (Cyperus)

Sedges look like grass but have stems that are triangular rather than circular in cross-section. This sedge is either chufa (aka yellow nutsedge, chufa flatsedge, yellow nutgrass, coquito, tulillo, peonía; Cyperus esculentus) or the very similar rusty flat sedge (Cyperus odoratus).


Bulrush, Tule, Club-Rush (Schoenoplectus acutus)

This bulrush seems to consist only of a long, continuous green tube topped by a brown flower cluster. The SW Field Guide tab on the plant's SEINET web page states, "This is a stout, round-stemmed bulrush; look for the clusters of spikelets on inflorescence branches a few centimeters long; and the single erect bract which subtends the inflorescence and looks as though it is a continuation of the stem." A bit technical but you can see those characteristics in my photos. 


The SW Field Guide tab on a different SEINET web page describes Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani, an Old World bulrush that also occurs in New Mexico. "This is the Eurasian cousin of S. acutus, and they are difficult to distinguish ... There are some who suggest there is no difference. It is no doubt safer to consider them one or the other, but for all intents and purposes, it doesn't matter which is which. Morphologically, they're identical." I take that as a license to halt my ID at the generic level.


The Spanish word for bulrush, tule, made it into American English by way of California. To say that someone lives "out in the tules" (or "tulies" or "toolies") is to claim that they're in an extremely rural area. In effect, that they live in a wetland area, since that's where bulrushes occur. I found mine next to a plunge pool in a channelized arroyo.