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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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Spikelet , Terminal
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 40 inches tall.
Leaf: Dark Green
Fruit: Dark yellow or brown
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Perianth absent. Bloom time denotes fruiting period for Eleocharis spp.
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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.
PropagationCommercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Eleocharis palustris in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Eleocharis palustris in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Eleocharis palustris
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-08
Research By: TWC Staff