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

Eleocharis palustris (L.) Roem. & Schult.
common spike-rush (common spikerush; creeping spike-rush)
Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Judith Holm  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #70241)

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

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General:
Perennial herb from freely branching rhizomes; stems scattered or in small clusters, slender to very stout, circular in cross-section, tapered or somewhat flattened, 10-100 cm tall.
Leaves:
Sheaths firm, reddish-brown, distinctly oblique, purplish or reddish below, somewhat flaring upwards; blades lacking.
Flowers:
Spikes solitary, terminal, lanceolate or narrowly egg-shaped, 5-23 mm long, light to dark brown or chestnut, several-flowered.
Fruits:
Basal scales 1 or 2 (3), empty, the lowest ones nearly encircling the top of the stem; fertile scales mostly 2-4.5 mm long, egg-shaped, nearly sharp-pointed or blunt, reddish-brown or purplish-brown or purplish-black with translucent margins and lighter coloured midribs; perianth bristles 4, sometimes 5 or 6, shortly surpassing the achenes, rarely reduced or lacking, with fine barbs directed backwards; stigmas 2; achenes lens-shaped, yellow to medium brown, finely cellular roughened, spongy, minutely wrinkled, 1.5-2.5 mm long including the well-differentiated tubercles, the tubercles separated from the achenes by constrictions, pyramidal, bulbous, longer than broad, 0.4-0.7 mm long.
Notes:
This is a highly variable polyploid complex which has yet to be studied adequately.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Wet meadows, tidal flats, ditches and shorelines in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to SC, AL, LA, TX, NM, AZ, CA and MX; Greenland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Eleocharis palustris

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

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 0 740 1870
Slope Gradient (%) 0 3 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
40 113 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
D
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
235
Modal BEC Zone Class
IDF
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(12), CDF(25), CWH(38), ESSF(20), ICH(11), IDF(80), MH(2), MS(7), PP(9), SBPS(13), SBS(15)

Climate

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 macrostachya Britton
Eleocharis uniglumis (Link) Schult.
Scirpus palustris L.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References