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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.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

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.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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

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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