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Eleocharis macrostachya

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About Common Spikerush (Eleocharis macrostachya) Eleocharis macrostachya is a species in the Cyperaceae (Sedge) family known by the common name Common Spikerush. It is widely distributed across North America and occurs in parts of South America. It is a plant of varied moist habitats, including freshwater lakes and brackish marshes and ponds, ditches, vernal pools, and wet meadows. This is a rhizomatous perennial generally reaching heights between one half and one meter. It has bright green erect stems and straw-colored basal leaves. The top of each stem is occupied by a narrow, lance-shaped or cylindrical flower cluster. The spikelet is one or two centimeters long and has at least ten flowers, each covered with a purplish-brown leaf. The fruit is a yellow or yellow-brown achene with a whitish cone-shaped tubercle on one end, measuring one or two millimeters long. The plant spreads by rhizomes and can fill up an area of suitable moisture.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1.6 - 3.3 ft (0.49 - 1 m)


Growth Rate


Flower Color

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Shallow freshwater or brackish marsh on the margin of lakes or ponds, estuaries, large springs or seeps, and in drainage ditches


Elevation ?
-127' - 8889'

Annual Precip. ?
3.1" - 88.1"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 3.26"

Coldest Month ?
21.3° F - 59.2° F

Hottest Month ?
49.7° F - 89.2° F

Humidity ?
0.24 vpd - 40.50 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates any saturated or inundated soil

Soil PH
5.5 - 7.0

Slow, Standing

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -10° F

Companion Plants
Due to its spreading tendency, use with caution in garden ponds or bioswales. Use with other marsh plants such as Carex sp., Bulrush (Schoenoplectus californicus), Rush (Juncus sp.), SaltMarsh Fleabane (Pluchea odorata), Arrowhead (Sagittaria sp.), Willow (Salix sp.), and Cattail (Typha sp.)

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
Keep moist
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Common uses
Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Pale Spikerush

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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