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Eleocharis palustris (Common spikerush) | NPIN

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Eleocharis palustris (Common spikerush)
Smith, R.W.

Eleocharis palustris

Eleocharis palustris (L.) Roem. & Schult.

Common spikerush, Common spike-rush, Creeping spikesedge

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)


USDA Symbol: elpa3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), HI (I?), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

The culms of this grass-like, clumped perennial are 4-40 in. tall and are covered, on the lower part, with a reddish-purple sheath. The small, terminal, cylindrical spike is many-flowered and light green to dark brown. This is a rhizomatous plant that will eventually fill in large areas.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Spikelet , Terminal
Leaf: Dark Green
Fruit: Dark yellow or brown
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Perianth absent. Bloom time denotes fruiting period for Eleocharis spp.


USA: AK , AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: NB , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Temperate & cold-temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere
Native Habitat: Wet places from sea level to moderate mt. elevations

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist to wet, often alkaline, soils.
Conditions Comments: Excellent for shore stabilization. This is a complex of great variability, with numerous, fairly unsuccessful attempts at subdivision. *In the East, E. smallii is sometimes used and includes the plants of E. palustris.


Description: Not Available
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Eleocharis palustris in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Eleocharis palustris in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Eleocharis palustris


Record Modified: 2012-07-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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