Common name. Bulrushes. Family Typhaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Aquatic herbs. Perennial. Leaves basal and cauline (mostly basal or near basal). Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves; rhizomatous. Hydrophytic to helophytic; rooted. Leaves emergent; alternate; distichous; leathery; sessile; sheathing; simple. Leaf blades entire; triangular in section or flat; linear; linear; parallel-veined; without cross-venules; lower portion an open sheath closely enveloping the stem. Leaves with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development. Vegetative anatomy. Plants with silica bodies, or without silica bodies. Leaf anatomy. Guard-cells not ‘grass type’. Hairs present, or absent (mostly). Extra-floral nectaries absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male and functionally female. Unisexual flowers present. Plants monoecious. Female flowers with staminodes (small), or without staminodes. Male flowers without pistillodes. Anemophilous.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers densely aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; compound, dense in spikes. Inflorescences scapiflorous; terminal; a dense compound spike, with condensed secondary/tertiary branches formed from closely approximated annular meristems, the female flowers in the lower part, the males above; spatheate (bract-like, caducous). Flowers bracteate (female very small, hair-like with a flattened lamina; male linear, simple or branched), or ebracteate; small. Floral receptacle developing a gynophore (sometimes, in the female flowers, to which the perianth-hairs may be adnate), or with neither androphore nor gynophore. Perigone tube absent. Hypogynous disk absent. Perianth vestigial (in the form of simple, lobed or forked hairs); 1–10(–20) (? — usually 3 in the males, 1–4 in the females); irregularly 1–5 -whorled; free, or joined (somewhat adnate to the slender, elongated axis); of scales, or of bristles, or of hairs (in male flowers simple or 2-branched). Fertile stamens present, or absent (female flowers). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium (1–)3(–5). Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal; coherent (by the filaments); 1 - adelphous (the filaments joined basally for variable distances). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens (1–)3(–5); all more or less similar in shape. Filaments appendiculate (with long silky hairs, connective wide and prolonged beyond cells). Anthers basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse (when recordable); tetrasporangiate; appendaged (via apical projection of the connective). Pollen shed as single grains (usually), or shed in aggregates; rarely in tetrads. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (male flowers). Gynoecium 1 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium monomerous; of one carpel; superior. Carpel stylate; apically stigmatic; 1 ovuled. Placentation apical. Ovary stipitate (stipe with long basal hairs). Ovules pendulous; non-arillate; anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy. The fruiting carpel dehiscent (but falling before dehiscing by a longitudinal slit); a follicle (but tiny and achene-like before dehiscence). Fruit 1 celled. Dispersal unit the fruit (with the perianth-hairs forming a parachute). Dispersal by wind. Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 1. Embryo straight.
Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: widespread, but absent from Madagascar, Malaysia, and the warm Americas. 10 species.
Economic uses, etc. The leaves used in weaving chair bottoms and mats.
Etymology. From the Greek for "reed-mace", T. angustata.