Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Eleocharis R. BR.
CYPERACEAE (Sedge Family)
EtymologyEleocharis means marsh grace, referring to a flooded meadow, from the Greek: heleos = marsh, low meadow + charis = grace, beauty.
DescriptionDespite their common name, spike rushes are actually sedges. The soft, thin stems, each bearing a solitary spike, grow singly or in grass-like clumps. Identification of individual species usually requires studying the mature fruit with a good hand lens -- and much experience.
Wetland indicator statusOBL, FACW+
Plant Height2-12 inches; some 2-3 feet
LeavesLeaf blades lacking; reduced to sheaths at base of stem.
Flower/InflorescenceA solitary spike; it may be oval or ovate, linear or flat.
FruitAchene, triangular to rounded or lens-shaped, tubercle (enlargement at base of style) at tip.
Fruiting PeriodJune-October.
HabitatBog margins, wet meadows; muddy, peaty, or sandy shores of ponds and lakes.
RangeNewfoundland to British Columbia, south to Florida and Mexico.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett