Eleocharis tenuis

Slender Spike Rush

Caption

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


Name:

  • Eleocharis, from the Greek, `eleios (heleios) , "of the marsh or meadow", and caris (charis) , "joy; grace; kindness; beauty", sometimes a reference to a specific plant.
  • tenuis, from the Latin, "thin, fine, slim, slender"
  • Common Name, from the slender stems relative to other Spike Rushes
  • Other common names include: Needle Grass

Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Liliopsida, the Monocotyledons
      • Subclass Commelinidae
        • Order Cyperales
          • Family Cyperaceae, the Sedges
            • Genus Eleocharis, the Spike Rushes, over 100 difficult-to-distinguish species worldwide.
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 40070

Description:

  • A thin-stemmed, perennial spike rush of the bogs
  • Leaves absent
  • Stems clumped or scattered slender culms, 8"-30" tall, having 4-8 longitudinal ridges or corrugations. Sheaths red/purple at base.
  • Root system dense, tough, to 14" deep; with slender rhizomes
  • Flower a spikelet, narrow, oblong, or almost oval, 3mm-10mm long and wider than stem..
  • Fruit a rounded, triangular achene, only about 1mm long.

Identification:

  • A bog plant, identifiable as a Spike Rush by its slender, leafless stems.
  • Distinguished from other North County Spike Rushes by having stems that have 4-8 longitudinal ridges or corrugations and are not smooth like others in this genus.

Distribution:

  • Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to South Carolina and Texas.

Habitat:

  • Bogs, sand or gravel shorelines.

Associates:

History:

Uses:

Reproduction:

  • Sexually by seed
  • Asexually by rhizome

Propagation:

  • By rhizome division.

Cultivation:

  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Cultural Requirements
    • Minimum frost-free days - 120
    • Sun full; shade intolerant
    • Soil pH 6.2-7.0
    • Fertilization moderate
  • Growth rate moderate
  • Available by mail order from specialty suppliers or at local nurseries

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Last updated on 26 February, 2004