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

Eleocharis acicularis (L.) Roem. & Schult.
needle spike-rush (needle spikerush)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14575)

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

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Perennial, usually densely tufted herb from slender rhizomes, forming dense mats; stems thread-like, erect to ascending, 3-12 cm tall.
Sheaths pale, sometimes purplish below; blades lacking.
Spikes solitary, terminal, flattened, linear to egg-shaped, 2.5-7 mm long, 3- to 15-flowered.
Scales 1.5-2.2 mm long, egg-shaped to lanceolate, sharp-pointed or blunt, reddish-brown to brownish with translucent margins and greenish or straw-coloured midribs, the lowest one subtending a flower; perianth bristles 3 or 4, equalling or surpassing the achenes, rarely reduced or lacking; stigmas 3; achenes egg-shaped, more or less 3-angled, white to pale grey or pale yellow, longitudinally 8- to 10-ribbed, the ribs connected by strong cross-ridges, 0.7-1.1 mm long including the more or less conic-triangular tubercles.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Marshes, mud flats and shorelines in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in S BC, infrequent northward; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to FL, MS, TX, NM, AZ, CA and MX; Greenland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Eleocharis acicularis

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) 20 867 2000
Slope Gradient (%) 0 15 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 24 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 5 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: BG(1), CWH(4), ESSF(4), ICH(3), IDF(2), MH(1), MS(1), SBS(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 acicularis var. radicans (A. Dietr.) Britton
Eleocharis lindheimeri Svens.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References