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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #14575)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Eleocharis acicularis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
867 20 2000
Slope Gradient (%)
15 0 80

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

24 20 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Eleocharis acicularis var. radicans (A. Dietr.) Britton
Eleocharis lindheimeri Svens.