E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Eleocharis quinqueflora (Hartmann) O. Schwarz
few-flowered spike-rush (fewflower spikerush)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20644)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Eleocharis quinqueflora
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from short, stout rhizomes, also producing more elongate, slender stolons with thickened terminal buds; stems clustered, thread-like, grooved, (5) 10-30 (40) cm tall.
Sheaths brownish to straw-coloured below, cylindrical, not flaring upwards; blades lacking.
Spikes solitary, terminal, lanceolate to egg-shaped, 4-8 mm long, 3- to 9-flowered, somewhat flattened.
Scales 2.5-5.5 mm long, the two lower ones larger than the others, the lowest one subtending a flower, egg-shaped, blunt, dark brown with translucent margins and a lighter midrib; perianth bristles 4 to 6, equalling or surpassing the achenes, or more or less reduced; stigmas 3; achenes 3-angled, or plano-convex, equally or unequally 3-angled, greyish brown, 3-ribbed, cellular roughened, 1.9-2.6 mm long including the short (0.6 mm), barely differentiated, nosecone-like tubercles that are confluent with the bodies of the achenes and that do not form distinct apical caps on the achenes.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bog margins and wet (often calcareous) sites in the steppe and montane zones (rarely subalpine or alpine); infrequent in and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in S BC, rare northward; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, PA, OH, IN, IL, NE, NM, AZ, CA and MX; Greenland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Eleocharis quinqueflora

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 7 1258 1870
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 19
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
30 322 354
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(1), CWH(3), ESSF(25), ICH(3), IDF(4), MH(1), MS(6), SBPS(2), SBS(9), SWB(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Eleocharis bernardina Munz & I.M. Johnst.
Eleocharis pauciflora (Lightf.) Link
Eleocharis pauciflora var. bernardina (Munz & Johnston) Svens.
Eleocharis pauciflora var. fernaldii Svens.
Eleocharis quinqueflora subsp. fernaldii (Svens.) HultΘn
Eleocharis quinqueflora subsp. quinqueflora
Eleocharis quinqueflora var. bernardina (Munz & Johnston) S. Gonzßlez & P.M. Peterson
Scirpus pauciflorus Lightf.
Scirpus quinqueflorus F.X. Hartmann

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References