Oct. 16, 2022

hardstem bulrush, Schoenoplectus acutus

Here in the east this plant is a bulrush. In the West, particu;arly in California, it is a tule. As a tule, it has quite a history, and is almost symbolic of differences in relationships with nature between native people and Eurasian immigrants. Tules were an important part of native life, used for food, construction, and in many ways in domestic life. They could be used to build homes, woven as mats for the floors, and served for dinner. Europeans on the other hand often saw them as challenges to be overcome by draining their habitats. The phrase "out in the tules" is still sometimes used to describe a place you wouldnt live. Oddly, tules and bulrushes are part of the history and mythology of both cultures, sheltering endangered children who went on to be important leaders. Ni'ka as a child survived a massacre of about 800 of her people by hiding among the tules. She and her descendants became leaders in improving relationships among people. And of course bulrushes (different species) sheltered Moses. Hardstem tules occur in wetlands everywhere except AL, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, SC, TN, LB, and GL. Lenawee Co MI, 6/16/11. Sedge family, Cyperaceae.