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Kevin Doyle

Hall's Bulrush (Schoenoplectus hallii)

Life history

Species overview

Hall's Bulrush (Schoenoplectus hallii), a Wisconsin Endangered and Federal Species of Concern plant, is found on moist sandy-peaty shores along the margins of shallow lakes with a fluctuating water table. Blooming occurs throughout August; fruiting occurs throughout August. The optimal identification period for this species is throughout September.

Synonyms: Schoenoplectiella hallii, Scirpus hallii; S. supinus var. hallii


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished by its achenes, which are finely but conspicuously cross-ridged.
  • Flower characteristics: Spikelets 2 to several, closely clustered, 3 to 15 mm, at least the larger ones mostly with more than 15 flowers.
  • Fruit characteristics: Achene blackish, 1.5 mm, with fine, dense, conspicuous cross ridges when viewed at 10x magnification, round to top-shaped.
  • Leaf characteristics: Few, borne mostly below the middle; sheathes bladeless and with a short, sharp point, or the upper ones with a slender blade to 10 cm.


  • Blooming phenology: throughout August
  • Fruiting phenology: throughout August
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is throughout September


  • Growth form: Graminoid
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Annual/perennial
  • Comments: Deep seed bank allows S. hallii populations to remain dormant until onset of favorable conditions.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Hall's Bulrush (Schoenoplectus hallii). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Schoenoplectus hallii in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in WisconsinSOC
State RankS1
Global RankG2G3
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found on moist sandy-peaty shores along the margins of shallow lakes with a fluctuating water table.
  • Soils: Wet, sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Hall's Bulrush. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Inland Beach 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Hall's Bulrush. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
Southeast Glacial Plains 2

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • No avoidance measures have been developed for this species.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • No guidance has been developed for this species.


Hall's Bulrush Photo.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, Wisconsin DNR.

Hall's Bulrush Photo.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, Wisconsin DNR.

Hall's Bulrush Photo.

Photo © June Dobberpuhl.

Hall's Bulrush Photo.

Photo © June Dobberpuhl.

Hall's Bulrush Photo.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition