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Common Spike Rush

Eleocharis palustris (L.) Roem. & Schult.

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Eleocharis palustris is the most widespread and common species of the extremely difficult circumboreal “E. palustris complex,” which in North America comprises E. palustris, E. mamillata, E. macrostachya, E. erythropoda, E. uniglumis, E. kamtschatica, and E. ambigens. Two or more of these species have been combined by recent authors. The complex has been studied extensively only in northern Europe (S.-O. Strandhede 1965, 1966), where E. palustris, E. mamillata, and E. uniglumis are recognized (S.-O. Strandhede 1966). European studies and preliminary studies in North America by S.-O. Strandhede (1967) and L. J. Harms (1968) indicate that unstable chromosome structure and number as well as interspecific hybridization contribute to the taxonomic complexity of the E. palustris complex.

Eleocharis palustris is extremely variable worldwide. Recognition of infraspecific taxa outside northwestern Europe is premature. For northern Europe, S.-O. Strandhede (1966) recognized E. palustris subsp. palustris, with two varieties, for which the chromosome numbers 2n = (14–)16(–17) have been reported, and E. palustris subsp. vulgaris, without varieties, for which the chromosome numbers 2n = (33–)38–39(–40) have been reported. Eleocharis palustris subsp. vulgaris is morphologically intermediate between E. palustris and E. uniglumis and may be of hybrid origin. Its North American counterpart appears to be the polyploid populations of E. macrostachya (variants b and c, at least in part), as defined herein. For North America, S.-O. Strandhede (1967) and L. J. Harms (1968) recognized two “cytotypes” among the plants with the morphology of E. smallii, one with 2n = 16 (variant a below) and one with 2n = 36 (variant c below). Much of the variation in habit is undoubtedly because of modification of the phenotype by environmental conditions as described for Europe by S.-O. Strandhede (1966). The more robust plants are often emergent in open water and may be called “crassa” phenotypes; the more slender plants often grow in densely vegetated marshes and meadows and may be called “meadow” or “grassland” phenotypes. Intermediates between E. palustris variant b (below) and E. erythropoda are common in zones of sympatry.

At least 4 variants are notable in North America.

Variant a (Eleocharis smallii in the strict sense) has culms mostly 1–3 mm wide; distal leaf sheaths sometimes disintegrating, often splitting adaxially, summits often with red margins, apices obtuse to broadly acute; floral scales 3–4 mm; achenes to 1.5(–1.6) mm; culm stomates 39–48 µm (based on very few measurements). Reported chromosome numbers for which I have seen vouchers, all from Kansas, are 2n = 16, 17 (L. J. Harms 1968). The range of variant a is mostly northeastern, where it is known from elevations to 1700 m in Newfoundland, west to Manitoba and south to North Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, and Kansas, with one collection from east-central Alaska.

Variant b is similar to variant a and intergrades with it. It has culms only 0.5–1.2 mm wide; distal leaf sheaths persistent and not splitting, summits usually with markedly red margins, markedly oblique when viewed from the side, apices acute to narrowly obtuse; and spikelets with proximal scale often clasping 3/4 of the culm. At least some of these slender plants may simply be meadow or grassland forms produced by the direct effects of unfavorable enviromental factors such as competition. Variant b is mostly sympatric with variant a; it is more common in the Southeast, where it is known south to Louisiana and Arkansas. Plants from the more southern part of the range are especially striking because of their extremely oblique, brightly red-margined sheath summits and proximal floral scales usually clasping to 3/4 of the culm.

Variant c may be called Eleocharis palustris var. vigens L. H. Bailey. The lectotype is from the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont (S. G. Smith 2001). It is similar to unusually robust forms of variant a, from which it differs in that its achenes are 1.6–2 mm, culm stomates 52–65 µm, and floral scales mostly 3.5–4.5 mm. Because of its large achenes and stomates, variant c is assumed to be tetraploid with 2n = 36 (S.-O. Strandhede 1967; L. J. Harms 1968). Variant c apparently grows mostly as an emergent in open water to about 1 m deep. Its known range is northeastern, from Newfoundland and Labrador to Manitoba, south to New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.

Variant d comprises most of the plants that cannot be placed in the preceding variants. Most of these plants closely resemble most specimens that I have seen from northern Eurasia and as described for Eleocharis palustris subsp. palustris by S.-O. Strandhede (1966). Variant d has distal leaf sheaths often splitting or disintegrating, the summit margins not reddish, and apices usually broadly obtuse. In North America variant d is mostly subarctic and boreal; it is known from Newfoundland and Labrador to Alaska, south to New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, New Mexico, and California. Some plants of variant d that have markedly narrow tubercles mostly much (to 2 times) higher than wide and narrow achenes only 0.9–1.1 mm wide may deserve taxonomic recognition; they are known from Manitoba west to British Columbia and Alaska, south to Colorado, Utah, and California. Specimens of variant d from scattered western localities from Alaska and Yukon south to California have floral scales 4–5 mm and achenes 1.6–1.9 mm and are very similar to variant c.

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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 23: 72, 73, 75 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
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Description

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Plants perennial, mat-forming; rhizomes evident, long, 1.5–4.5 mm thick, firm to hard (or soft), cortex persistent, longer internodes 10–35 mm, scales usually persistent, 6–20 mm, membranous, sometimes slightly fibrous. Culms terete or slightly compressed, often with 8–30 blunt ridges when dry, 30–115 cm × 0.5–5 mm, firm to soft, internally spongy. Leaves: distal leaf sheaths persistent or sometimes disintegrating, often splitting adaxially, red or blackish proximally, green or red distally, not inflated, not callose, membranous to papery, apex broadly obtuse to acute, tooth absent. Spikelets ovoid to lanceoloid, 5–25 × 3–7 mm, apex acute to obtuse; proximal scale clasping 2/3 or sometimes 3/4 of culm, entire; subproximal scales 1–2, empty; floral scales often spreading in fruit, 30–100, 4–8 per mm of rachilla, brown, midrib regions mostly stramineous to green, ovate to lanceolate, 3–5 × 1.5–2.5 mm, apex entire, acute or subacute, often carinate in distal part of spikelet. Flowers: perianth bristles 4(–5), sometimes absent, medium brown to stramineous, slender to stout, much shorter than achene to equaling tubercle, rarely to 2 times as long as achene; stamens 3; anthers dark yellow to stramineous, 1.5–2.2 mm; styles 2-fid, very rarely some 3-fid. Achenes not persistent, stramineous or dark brown, biconvex, angles obscure, obovoid to obpyriform, 1.1–2 × 1–1.5 mm, apex rounded, neck absent or mostly short (to long), smooth at 30X, sometimes finely rugulose at 10–20X and with 20 or more ridges in vertical series. Tubercles brown to whitish, pyramidal to mamillate, as high as wide to 2 times higher, 0.3–0.7 × 0.35–0.7 mm. 2n = 16, 17, 36.
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copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 23: 72, 73, 75 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
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Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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Description

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Tufted perennial, to 100 cm. Rhizome horizontal, c. 2 mm diam., aerial stem arise just at or near the nodes. Stem 1.5-2.5 mm diam., green or greyish green, with 12-28 vascular bundles in cross section. Open sheaths c. 10 mm; lower closed sheaths soon disintegrating, mouth oblique; upper to 200 mm, mouth straight, margins scarious. Spike elongate ellipsoid or ovoid, acutish, with more than 50 glumes; 2 basal glumes sterile, mostly equal, 1.4-2.5 mm, central part green, margins widely scarious, apex rounded; glumes cymbiform, narrow, mid-nerve not reaching rounded or acutish apex, margins scarious. Perianth bristles of equal legth, equalling nut (incl. stylopodium), light brown; stamens 3; stigmas 2. Nut globose, ovoid or obovoid, glossy, finely or obscurely reticulate; stylopodium c. as high as wide, mitriform, sides convex, whitish or brownish, reticulate or trabeculate, distinctly constricted from nut.
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cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of Pakistan Vol. 206: 54 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of Pakistan @ eFloras.org
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S. I. Ali & M. Qaiser
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Distribution

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Temperate regions of northern hemisphere, with a number of local variants.
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal Vol. 0 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal @ eFloras.org
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K.K. Shrestha, J.R. Press and D.A. Sutton
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Distribution

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Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Ala., Alaska, Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.; Mexico; Eurasia; New Zealand.
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copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 23: 72, 73, 75 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
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Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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Elevation Range

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2000-3800 m
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal Vol. 0 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal @ eFloras.org
author
K.K. Shrestha, J.R. Press and D.A. Sutton
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eFloras.org
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Flowering/Fruiting

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Fruiting summer.
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 23: 72, 73, 75 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
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Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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eFloras.org
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Habitat

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Fresh (to slightly brackish?) marshes, meadows, shores, ponds; 0–3000m.
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 23: 72, 73, 75 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
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Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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Synonym

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Scirpus palustris Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 47. 1753; Eleocharis smallii Britton
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copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 23: 72, 73, 75 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
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Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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Synonym

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Scirpus palustris L., Sp. Pl. 1: 47. 1753; E. crassa Fisch. & Mey. ex Zinserl. in Fl. URSS, 3: 582. 1935; E. crassa Fisch. & C.A.Mey. ex Becker in Bull. Soc. Moscou 31(1): 75. 1858. nom. nudum. E. kitamurana T. Koyama in Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 17: 48. 1957; Strandhede & Dahlgren in Bot. Not. 121: fig. 2. 1968.
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of Pakistan Vol. 206: 54 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Flora of Pakistan @ eFloras.org
editor
S. I. Ali & M. Qaiser
project
eFloras.org
original
visit source
partner site
eFloras

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: backfire, cover, density, fire intensity, flame length, fuel, fuel moisture, litter, prescribed burn

Prescribed fire increased common spikerush biomass the 2 years after treatment
in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon. On 20 October 1981, a monotypic common
spikerush wetlands community was burned under prescription. The preburn fuels,
weather conditions, fire behavior, and fire effects during the experimental
prescribed burn are presented below:

Mean prefire fuel load (g/m²)*
Fuel height (cm)
Litter height (cm)
Fuel moisture (%)
Temperature (°C)
Relative humidity (%)
Wind speed (km/hr)
550 (389-805) 12 6 3.7 16-23 13-17 3-16

*Range in parenthesis

Fire rate of spread (m/min)
Flame length (m)
Fire intensity (KW/m)
Postfire residual fuels (g/m²)*
Reduction of fuels (%)
Head fire
Backfire
Head fire
Backfire
Head fire
Backfire
20-30 1-1.5 1.5-3.5 1-1.5 3031-6272 152-314 33 (0-96) 94

*Range in parenthesis


During the following 2 summers, vegetation samplings were taken within the burned and
nonburned common spikerush communities. Young [183] found that the aboveground standing
crop (g/m²) and shoot density (m²) of common spikerush significantly (p<0.05) increased
on burned sites compared with unburned sites:
 
July 1982*
July 1983*
Burned
Unburned
Burned
Unburned
Aboveground standing crop ~650 ~400 ~650 ~400
Shoot density ~2,800 ~1,800 ~2,000 ~2,500

*Numbers are interpreted from a bar graph


Young also found that fire had no significant effect on the number of reproductive shoots of
common spikerush or the average height the summer following fire [183].


Prescription fire in a Wisconsin wetland caused a short term increase in common spikerush cover.
In early spring 1994, The Nature Conservancy burned wetlands at Lulu Lake, Wisconsin. The wetlands
at Lulu Lake are predominately sedge (Carex spp.) species and common spikerush. When vegetation
cover was sampled 3 to 4 months later, common spikerush cover was 7.6% on burned sites and 1.3% on
unburned sites. However, by postfire years 1 and 2, percent cover dropped to 0.2% and 1.1%, respectively,
which was not significantly (p<0.05) different than the control site (1.3%) [96].
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Common Names

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
common spikerush

creeping spikerush

creeping spike-rush

common spike-rush

common spikesedge
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Distribution

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Common spikerush is found throughout the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), excluding Florida and Georgia [76,33,39,63,104,127,140,150,155,166]. In Canada, common spikerush occurs from British Columbia east to Nova Scotia [8,89,109,173,134]. Plants Database provides a distributional map of common spikerush.
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Fire Ecology

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: fire frequency, fire regime, fire tolerant, frequency, marsh, natural, presence, seed

Fire adaptations: Common spikerush is fire tolerant when dormant [166] and top-killed by fire during the growing season [98,183]. Common spikerush establishes after fire through seed and/or lateral spread by rhizomes [96,98,121,183].

FIRE REGIMES: Common spikerush occurs in wetlands where the fire frequency may differ greatly from surrounding communities or ecosystems listed in the table below. There is very little research on the fire return interval of wetlands that support common spikerush. There is some research on the fire return interval for the northern cordgrass prairie where common spikerush occurs. Frost [53,54] identifies a fire frequency of 1 to 12 years in saline and brackish marshes. In Landfire's Rapid Assessment Reference Condition model of the northern cordgrass prairie, mean occurrence of stand-replacement fires is 7 years, with a range of 2 to 50 years. Stand-replacement fires account for 97% of fires in the northern cordgrass prairie. The other 3% are mixed-severity fires, which occur very infrequently. FIRE REGIMES in the northern cordgrass prairies vary widely because the probability of ignition is affected by the presence of open water channels, connection to uplands, and the natural fire regime of adjacent uplands. Northern cordgrass prairie marsh island likely would have been fire free unless ignited by Native Americans [103]. Common spikerush occurs in Louisiana salt marshes, where lightning fires may occur several times per year [56,130]. The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where common spikerush is important. Find further fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find FIRE REGIMES".

Community or ecosystem Dominant species Fire return interval range (years) bluestem prairie Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium 99,133] bluestem-Sacahuista prairie Andropogon littoralis-Spartina spartinae 133] silver sagebrush steppe Artemisia cana 5-45 [73,138,181] sagebrush steppe Artemisia tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata 20-70 [133] basin big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata 12-43 [147] mountain big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana 15-40 [6,23,122] Wyoming big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis 10-70 (mean = 40) [168,182] saltbush-greasewood Atriplex confertifolia-Sarcobatus vermiculatus 133] desert grasslands Bouteloua eriopoda and/or Pleuraphis mutica 10 to <100 [117,133] plains grasslands Bouteloua spp. 133,181] blue grama-needle-and-thread grass-western wheatgrass Bouteloua gracilis-Hesperostipa comata-Pascopyrum smithii 133,146,181] blue grama-buffalo grass Bouteloua gracilis-Buchloe dactyloides <35 [133,181] grama-galleta steppe Bouteloua gracilis-Pleuraphis jamesii <35 to <100 blue grama-tobosa prairie Bouteloua gracilis-Pleuraphis mutica 133] cheatgrass Bromus tectorum 135,176] blackbrush Coleogyne ramosissima <35 to <100 northern cordgrass prairie Distichlis spicata-Spartina spp. 1-3 [133] California steppe Festuca-Danthonia spp. 133,162] black ash Fraxinus nigra 170] western juniper Juniperus occidentalis 20-70 Rocky Mountain juniper Juniperus scopulorum <35 [133] western larch Larix occidentalis 25-350 [5,12,36] creosotebush Larrea tridentata <35 to <100 [133] yellow-poplar Liriodendron tulipifera <35 [170] Everglades Mariscus jamaicensis <10 [128] wheatgrass plains grasslands Pascopyrum smithii <5-47+ [133,138,181] Great Lakes spruce-fir Picea-Abies spp. 35 to >200 northeastern spruce-fir Picea-Abies spp. 35-200 [45] southeastern spruce-fir Picea-Abies spp. 35 to >200 [170] pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp. <35 [133] Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. latifolia 25-340 [11,12,163] Sierra lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. murrayana 35-200 [4] Colorado pinyon Pinus edulis 10-400+ [51,90,133,62] Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [4] interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [4,9,106] galleta-threeawn shrubsteppe Pleuraphis jamesii-Aristida purpurea <35 to <100 eastern cottonwood Populus deltoides <35 to 200 [133] quaking aspen-paper birch Populus tremuloides-Betula papyrifera 35-200 [45,170] quaking aspen (west of the Great Plains) Populus tremuloides 7-120 [4,64,119] mountain grasslands Pseudoroegneria spicata 3-40 (mean = 10) [3,4] Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 25-100 [4,6,7] coastal Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii 40-240 [4,124,144] California mixed evergreen Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii <35 California oakwoods Quercus spp. <35 [4] little bluestem-grama prairie Schizachyrium scoparium-Bouteloua spp. <35 tule marshes Scirpus and/or Typha spp. <35 southern cordgrass prairie Spartina alterniflora 1-3 [133] *fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review
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cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Fire Management Considerations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: cover, fire tolerant

Invasive species: If fire is chosen as a tool for common spikerush, managers should be cognizant of potential negative effects on associated or surrounding vegetation. For instance, common spikerush is a dominant species at Utah Lake, Utah [19]. In the past several decades the area has been infested by saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissma), which is highly fire tolerant and may expand after disturbances such as fire and severely reduce native plant coverage [110]. In Colorado, common spikerush is commonly associated with dense stands of Canada thistle [41,156]. Managers should be careful using fire as a management tool where Canada thistle exists, because it may expand after disturbances such as fire and severely reduce native plant coverage [13,116,131,149].

Wildlife: Common spikerush provides important cover and to a lesser extent a source of food for waterfowl species in southeastern and Gulf Coast salt marshes and western riparian areas (see Importance to Livestock and Wildlife). Thus, burning salt marshes where common spikerush occurs may be detrimental to waterfowl.

license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info on this topic.

More info for the term: hemicryptophyte

RAUNKIAER [142] LIFE FORM:
Hemicryptophyte
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cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Habitat characteristics

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: cover, frequency, fresh, litter, marsh, peat, tree

Common spikerush occurs throughout its range in wet areas such as marshes (fresh and saline) [8,19,24,74,79,81,104,123,127,140,169,175,180,34], ephemeral ponds [10,82,123,175,34], flooded saline playas [10,74,92,161], ditches [74,79], intermittent streams [123,178], river, stream, reservoir, and lake margins [19,26,65,67,79,82,127,169,178], sloughs [123], wet meadows [169], bogs [169,180], swamps [161,169], and vernal pools [78,83]. Common spikerush is drought intolerant [166].

In Alaska and subalpine Colorado, common spikerush is found around warm springs where soils are between 59°F (15 °C) and 72 °F (22 °C) [27]. Common spikerush is listed as almost always (≥99%) occurring in wetland areas of northwestern Montana [17] and southern and eastern Idaho [65].

Climate: Common spikerush is widespread in temperate to cold temperature regions of the Northern Hemisphere [76,74,75]. Common spikerush can withstand temperature minimums of -38 °F to -44 °F (-39 °C to -42 °C) [8,166], but requires at least 100 frost free days for growth [166]. Common spikerush tolerates an annual precipitation regime of 16 to 60 inches (406-1520 mm) [166].

Elevation: The elevation range of common spikerush for several locations is presented below:

Location Elevation Arizona 150 to 6,500 feet [88] California 0 to 8,000 feet [14,74,127] Colorado 5,000 to 9,000 feet [10,70] Idaho 4,700 to 9,900 feet [65,132] Montana 2,200 to 8,120 feet [68,67] New Mexico 3,500 to 8,000 feet [114,125] New York (Adirondack Mtns.) 1,500 to 1,700 feet [101] Nevada 3,000 to 8,700 feet [87,111,112] Oregon 0 to 6,800 feet [76,97,75] Utah 3,700 to 10,500 feet [60,175] Washington 0 to 4,400 feet [76,38,75]

Invasive species: The nonnative tree species Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) has a detrimental effect on common spikerush. At Utah Lake, Utah, the frequency of common spikerush was significantly (p<0.05) lower on sites infested with Russian-olive than sites not infested [25]. In Colorado, common spikerush is associated with dense stands of Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) [41,156].

Salt marsh characteristics: In brackish marshes near the coast, common spikerush develops rather broad and soft culms with large spikelets and dark purple to black scales. Plants from the interior may have culms as broad as the maritime form or they may be rounder and firmer with scales that are much lighter in color [115]. Common spikerush is found in fresh, slightly brackish, moderately brackish, and brackish marshes in the Prairie Potholes of North Dakota. It is particularly prevalent in slightly and moderately brackish marshes [157].

Soils: Common spikerush is adapted to coarse and fine textured soils [166]. It is commonly found on fine sand and silt soils with high organic matter content [8,120]. It can withstand anaerobic soil conditions [166] and is found on heavy clays [10]. At Utah Lake, Utah, common spikerush is found on peat beds as deep as 30 inches (76 cm) [19].

Common spikerush is tolerant of alkaline soils [76,33,59,60,66,82,75]. In the Great Basin, common spikerush occurs widely on highly calcareous or alkaline soils associated with moist or wet native meadow communities [154]. Common spikerush has a pH tolerance of 4.0 to 8.0 [8,10,20,58,166].

In southern and eastern Idaho riparian areas, common spikerush is dominant on sites which are saturated or inundated with water for much of the growing season. Litter accumulation at some sites may blend into a rich, black, organic muck soil. Upper horizon soils are generally fine silts or clays which may be 39 inches (1 m) or more in depth and arising from alluvial deposition. Sands, gravels, and cobbles are the most likely constituents of deeper subsurface materials. Soil orders may be classified as Histosols, Mollisols, and occassionally Entisols [65], in both Idaho and Montana [68].

Brotherson [20] identified 5 vegetative zones surrounding Utah Lake, Utah. General soil factors and mineral nutrients (mean ± SD) of zone 5, where common spikerush is dominant with 47.94% cover are presented below:

Utah Lake Sand (%) 13.07±3.87 Silt (%) 48.33±2.89 Clay (%) 38.60±6.75 Organic matter (%) 32.70±16.81 pH 7.66±0.11 Soluble salts (ppm) 4,002.67±351.48 Soil moisture (%) 51.7±3.4 Nitrogen (%) 0.282±0.123 Phosphorus (%) 10.13±4.96 Calcium (ppm) 80,256.00±8,183.00 Magnesium (ppm) 685.33±110.37 Sodium (ppm) 1,122.67±304.56 Potassium (ppm) 576.00±227.82 Iron (ppm) 1.84±0.32 Manganese (ppm) 10.82±5.74 Zinc (ppm) 0.62±0.12 Copper (ppm) 2.49±0.68

Soil measurements were taken on 219 sites were common spikerush occurs in wetlands of Nova Scotia and Ontario, Canada. Average soil factors in which common spikerush occurred are described below [58]:

Soil factor (mean±SD) Organic content (%) 5.88±0.26 Phosphorus (mg/kg) 6.56±0.14 Nitrate (mg/kg) 6.48±0.25 Potassium (mg/kg) 111.28±3.18 pH 6.38±0.04 Magnesium (mg/kg) 286.66±7.99

Water table: Common spikerush is found from sea level to mid-elevations on seasonally to permanently flooded sites, often in moderate to wide valley bottoms with low gradients. Sites where common spikerush occurs are generally permanently flooded or seasonally flooded, with the water table dropping to 12 inches (30 cm) or less below the soil surface late in the season [82].

On the Middle Loup River, Nebraska, where common spikerush is dominant, it was only found on sites where the water table was between 0 to 12 inches (0-30 cm) from the soil surface [129].

Fluctuations in the water table of a marsh in Saskatchewan were measured over a 10-year period (1962-1971) to assess the effects of moisture regime changes on common spikerush monotypic stands. When the water table was within 24 inches (61 cm), no die-off of common spikerush occurred. However, as the water table dropped, common spikerush mortality increased [121].

Water table depth (inches) % common spikerush die-off < 24 0 24 to 30 7 30.1 to 36 20 36.1 to 42 20 > 42 53
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

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SAF COVER TYPES [50]:



12 Black spruce

16 Aspen

30 Red spruce-yellow birch

63 Cottonwood

107 White spruce

210 Interior Douglas-fir

212 Western larch

217 Aspen

218 Lodgepole pine

220 Rocky Mountain juniper

222 Black cottonwood-willow

229 Pacific Douglas-fir

235 Cottonwood-willow

237 Interior ponderosa pine

238 Western juniper

239 Pinyon-juniper

243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer

244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir

245 Pacific ponderosa pine
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

ECOSYSTEMS [57]:



FRES11 Spruce-fir

FRES19 Aspen-birch

FRES20 Douglas-fir

FRES21 Ponderosa pine

FRES26 Lodgepole pine

FRES28 Western hardwoods

FRES29 Sagebrush

FRES35 Pinyon-juniper

FRES36 Mountain grasslands

FRES37 Mountain meadows

FRES38 Plains grasslands

FRES39 Prairie

FRES40 Desert grasslands

FRES41 Wet grasslands

FRES42 Annual grasslands

FRES44 Alpine
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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the terms: bog, forest, woodland

KUCHLER [100] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:



K008 Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest

K011 Western ponderosa forest

K012 Douglas-fir forest

K015 Western spruce-fir forest

K016 Eastern ponderosa forest

K017 Black Hills pine forest

K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest

K019 Arizona pine forest

K021 Southwestern spruce-fir forest

K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland

K025 Alder-ash forest

K026 Oregon oakwoods

K029 California mixed evergreen forest

K038 Great Basin sagebrush

K039 Blackbrush

K040 Saltbush-greasewood

K041 Creosote bush

K047 Fescue-oatgrass

K048 California steppe

K049 Tule marshes

K050 Fescue-wheatgrass

K051 Wheatgrass-bluegrass

K052 Alpine meadows and barren

K055 Sagebrush steppe

K057 Galleta-threeawn shrubsteppe

K058 Grama-tobosa shrubsteppe

K063 Foothills prairie

K064 Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass

K065 Grama-buffalo grass

K066 Wheatgrass-needlegrass

K067 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

K069 Bluestem-grama prairie

K070 Sandsage-bluestem prairie

K072 Sea oats prairie

K073 Northern cordgrass prairie

K074 Bluestem prairie

K077 Bluestem-sacahuista prairie

K078 Southern cordgrass prairie

K093 Great Lakes spruce-fir forest

K094 Conifer bog

K096 Northeastern spruce-fir forest

K097 Southeastern spruce-fir forest

K098 Northern floodplain forest

K106 Northern hardwoods

K107 Northern hardwoods-fir forest

K108 Northern hardwoods-spruce forest
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

More info for the terms: cover, forb, fresh, grassland, marsh, mesic, shrubland, swamp, tundra, woodland

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [152]:




101 Bluebunch wheatgrass

102 Idaho fescue

107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass

108 Alpine Idaho fescue

109 Ponderosa pine shrubland

110 Ponderosa pine-grassland

203 Riparian woodland

213 Alpine grassland

214 Coastal prairie

215 Valley grassland

216 Montane meadows

217 Wetlands

301 Bluebunch wheatgrass-blue grama

307 Idaho fescue-threadleaf sedge

308 Idaho fescue-tufted hairgrass

309 Idaho fescue-western wheatgrass

310 Needle-and-thread-blue grama

311 Rough fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass

312 Rough fescue-Idaho fescue

313 Tufted hairgrass-sedge

314 Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass

315 Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue

316 Big sagebrush-rough fescue

401 Basin big sagebrush

402 Mountain big sagebrush

403 Wyoming big sagebrush

408 Other sagebrush types

409 Tall forb

410 Alpine rangeland

411 Aspen woodland

412 Juniper-pinyon woodland

422 Riparian

504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland

601 Bluestem prairie

606 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

607 Wheatgrass-needlegrass

612 Sagebrush-grass

613 Fescue grassland

615 Wheatgrass-saltgrass-grama

701 Alkali sacaton-tobosagrass

702 Black grama-alkali sacaton

712 Galleta-alkali sacaton

723 Sea oats

726 Cordgrass

805 Riparian

806 Gulf Coast salt marsh

807 Gulf Coast fresh marsh

819 Freshwater marsh and ponds

822 Slough

ALASKAN RANGELANDS

909 Freshwater marsh

910 Hairgrass

913 Low scrub swamp

914 Mesic sedge-grass-herb meadow tundra

919 Wet meadow tundra

921 Willow
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Immediate Effect of Fire

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Fire top-kills common spikerush [98,183]. Since common spikerush is generally found on saturated or flooded sites, underground rhizomes usually remain undamaged and the plant survives [98,121].
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

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Common spikerush is of minimal importance to livestock [65]. In riparian areas, the seasonally wet conditions and low palatability of common spikerush limit its grazing value, even in years of drought where upland forage dries early and dies [65]. However, Kovalchik and Clausnitzer [98] suggests that in drought years common spikerush may be used more heavily than in nondrought years. Common spikerush does provide heavy forage for cattle in the California foothills in wet meadow swales [14].

Ungulates: In northwestern/southwestern Montana, common spikerush provides fair food for elk and mule deer, but poor food for whitetailed-deer and pronghorn [17,68].

Waterfowl/small mammals: Common spikerush is an important source of food for waterfowl. The seeds, stems, and rhizomes of common spikerush are an important food source for a variety of North American waterfowl, marsh, and shorebirds [113]. Common spikerush is described as a "good" source of food for waterfowl at Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, South Dakota [48]. Common spikerush is an important food source for a variety of duck species at Prince Albert District, Saskatchewan [55]. In northwestern/southwestern Montana, common spikerush provides poor food value for upland game, fair for small nongame birds and small mammals, and good food for waterfowl [17,68]. In the Potholes Area of eastern Washington, common spikerush plant material was identified in 40.0% of the stomachs of several duck species [71]. Common spikerush provides food for nutria in Louisiana [93] and Maryland [179] marshes. Common spikerush is a very minor food source for cottontail rabbits in Missouri [95].

Palatability/nutritional value: The palatability of common spikerush is low [82,166]. Boggs and others [17] and Hansen and others [68] list the palatability of common spikerush for cattle, domestic sheep, and horses in northwestern Montana as poor. The palatability of common spikerush is very low in Idaho and Montana riparian zones [65,66,68].

Common spikerush is listed as having fair energy value, but poor protein value in northwestern/southwestern Montana [17,68] and southern and eastern Idaho [65].

The nutritional content (% dry weight) of common spikerush at different life stages during 2 years at San Joaquin Experimental Range, California, are presented below [61]:

Year Life stage Ash Silica Silica-free ash Calcium P K Crude protein Crude fiber 1936 Just before flowering 10.78 2.43 8.35 0.598 0.310 3.16 18.22 25.80 Green, full bloom 13.38 7.81 5.57 0.432 0.192 2.59 8.87 27.19 Green, seeds mature 15.42 10.33 5.09 0.443 0.148 2.38 9.02 27.76 Dry, some seeds cast 17.26 12.33 4.93 0.742 0.158 2.43 5.03 32.42 1937 Green, in early bloom 12.41 5.68 6.73 0.388 0.328 2.98 15.84 27.12 Green, full bloom 14.0 8.28 5.72 0.291 0.192 2.83 8.17 30.87 Green, seeds mature,  none cast 14.04 8.66 5.38 0.248 0.142 2.65 6.88 29.15

Cover value: Common spikerush provides cover for a variety of waterfowl and small mammals. Stands of common spikerush are listed as "good" cover for waterfowl at Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, South Dakota [48]. Common spikerush communities along the Columbia River Hanford Reach section, Washington, support brood rearing habitat for Canada geese [69]. In northwestern/southwestern Montana, common spikerush provides fair cover for upland game birds, small nongame birds, and small mammals, and good cover for waterfowl [17,68]. Muskrat mounds are numerous in common spikerush dominated marshes at Huntingdon Marsh, Quebec [8]. Low marshy areas with common spikerush provide cover for the jumping mouse [137]. Ponds with abundant common spikerush located 6 miles (10 km) east of Moscow, Idaho, support the Pacific treefrog, northern long-toed salamander, western toad, and the spotted frog [148].

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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Key Plant Community Associations

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More info for the terms: bog, forest, marsh

Common spikerush is a dominant species, usually occurring in monotypic stands,
in the following vegetation classifications:


United States:

AK:

Southeast shorelines/mudflat areas [1]

Copper River Delta [16]



AZ:

Babocomari Cienega [34]



CA:

Vernal pools [78]

Toiyabe National Forest (riparian zones) [112]



CO:

Moffat County [10]

Yampa River [120]

Green River [120]



IA:

North-central wet meadows [28]



ID:

Riparian zones throughout the east and south [65]

Riparian zones throughout the state [83]

Duck Lake [139]


KS:

High Plains and Smoky Hills [92,105]



LA:

Barataria Basin salt marsh [80]



MT:

Riparian and wetlands sites (NW part of state) [17]

Riparian and wetlands sites (SW part of state) [68]

Low to mid-elevation riparian zones throughout the state [66,67]

Sheep Mountain bog [72]



ND:

Prairie Potholes [157]



NE:

Platte and North Platte River [35]

Middle Loup River [129]



NM:

Upper and middle Rio Grande watershed [47]

Gila, Rio Grande, and Pecos basins [125]



NV:

Independence and Copper Ranges (ponds) [111]

Toiyabe National Forest (riparian zones) [112]

Humboldt National Forest (riparian zones) [112]



OK:

The panhandle and western part of state-wet areas [77]



OR:

Klamath Basin [26]

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge [32,183]

Trout Creek [49]

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge [143]



UT:

Goshen Bay [154]

Utah Lake [19]

Riparian areas throughout the state [132]


WA:

Riparian and wetland sites (eastern part of state) [98]


WY:

Wet meadows [31]



Canada:

AB:
Wet meadows and coulee bottoms of shortgrass prairies [29]

Oxbow lakes (central part of province) [167]



ON:

Ottawa River [37]



PQ:

Huntingdon Marsh [8]

Ottawa River [173,37]



SK:

wet meadows and coulee bottoms of shortgrass prairies [29]


Canadian regions:

Prairie province salt marshes and salt meadows [109]

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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Life Form

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Graminoid
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Management considerations

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Grazing: Heavy grazing of common spikerush in riparian areas may create conditions
that allow for the increase and spread of common spikerush onto adjacent sites [66,82].
Common spikerush is highly susceptible to trampling in wetland areas [68,112].
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Phenology

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Common spikerush is a warm season species with rapid rhizomatous growth in mid- and late summer in aquatic locations [159,166]. Common spikerush begins blooming in late spring [61,94,166], begins seed production mid-summer [61,94], and ends flowering in late summer to early fall [76,123,127,140,75]. The flowering period for common spikerush in several states/regions is presented below:

State/Region Flowering Period California April to November [127] Illinois June to September [123] Nevada June to August [87] North Carolina July to September [140] South Carolina July to September [140] Texas May/June to October [39] West Virginia June to September [161] Adirondack Mountains June to August/September [101] Blue Ridge Mountains July to October [180] New England June to September [150] Northern Great Plains (aquatic and wetland zones) June to August [104] Pacific Northwest May to August [76,75] Baja California April to September [178]

The phenology of common spikerush in 1936 and 1937 at San Joaquin Experimental Range, California, is presented below [61]:

Growth stage 1936 1937 Just before flowering 3 April

---

Green, in early bloom

---

8 April Green, full bloom 8 May 18 May Green, seeds mature 13 June

---

Green, seeds mature,  none cast

---

14 June Dry, some seeds cast 10 September

---

Common spikerush average height, growth stage, and average water table depth during 4 periods in 1985 and 1986 at the Central Grasslands Research Station, North Dakota, are presented below [94]:

Date Height (cm) Growth stage Water table depth (cm) Late spring (21 May-10 June) 21 Bloom 14 Early summer (21 June-11 July) 49 Bloom 7 Mid-summer (21 July-4 August) 52 Seed 9 Late summer (15 August-18 September) 48 Post-ripe 1
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Plant Response to Fire

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More info for the terms: cover, seed

Little research has been done on common spikerush's response to fire. Common spikerush tolerates pioneer conditions [8,38,65,91,111,112,118,151,16], such as burned sites [121]. Common spikerush seed dispersal onto burned sites in wetlands is primarily effected by water, mud, and animals (particularly birds) [40,85]. In nonhydrologic areas, common spikerush seeds may be dispersed onto burn sites by wind [38]. At Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon, Young [183] found that aboveground standing biomass of common spikerush significantly (p<0.05) increased 9 and 21 months postfire. Kost and De Steven [96] found that fire caused a significant (p<0.05) increase in common spikerush several months after a burn, but by postfire years 2 and 3 common spikerush cover was equal to that of unburned sites. Kovalich and Clausnitzer [98] assert that common spikerush resprouts quickly following a summer or fall fire, when growth is reinitiated in spring.
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Post-fire Regeneration

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More info for the terms: ground residual colonizer, herb, initial off-site colonizer, rhizome, secondary colonizer, seed

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [158]:
Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
Initial off-site colonizer (off-site, initial community)
Secondary colonizer (on-site or off-site seed sources)
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Regeneration Processes

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More info for the terms: density, fruit, marsh, perfect, seed, stratification

Common spikerush reproduces vegetatively from rhizomes and by seeds [40]. The rhizomes of common spikerush grow rapidly in mid- and late summer in aquatic locations [159]. Common spikerush plants do not produce fruit until 2 or 3 years of age [159]. Seeds typically germinate in standing water mid-spring through early summer [40].

Pollination: Common spikerush is wind-pollinated [46,160].

Breeding system: Common spikerush has perfect flowers [40,104].

Seed production: Common spikerush produces a large number of seeds, though viability is low [173]. In "low-elevations," seeds ripen from July to August and rapidly disarticulate when mature [82].

Seed dispersal: The seeds of common spikerush are dispersed by water, mud, animals (particularly birds) [40,85], and wind [38]. At Mount St. Helens, Washington, common spikerush seeds are dispersed by wind in nonhydrologic environments [38]. One study suggests that seeds of common spikerush are transported and dispersed long distances from their place of origin in the gizzards of shorebirds and waterfowl [85].

Seed banking: Common spikerush utilizes a seed bank [134,30]. Soil samples taken at five 12-year old wetlands, created at a reclaimed southern Illinois surface coal mine, found the seeds of common spikerush at 3 of 5 wetlands. The density of common spikerush seeds at the 3 seed bank sites (# of seeds/m²) were 1363, 2705, and 3578, respectively [30]. In June 1980, 10×10×2 inch (30×30×5 cm) soil samples were taken from Delta Marsh, Manitoba. The soil samples were taken to a greenhouse and subjected to a drawdown (moist soil) and shallow-flooding (1 to 1.5 inch (2-3 cm) of standing water) treatment. After 3 months, counts were taken; 240 seeds germinated from the drawdown treatment and 34 seeds germinated from the shallow-flooding treatment [134].

Germination: Stratification of common spikerush seeds promotes germination. Buhler and others [21] found that recently harvested seeds subjected to a temperature/light regime of 9 hours in the dark at 59 °F (15 °C) and 15 hours of light at 68 °F (20 °C) produced a germination rate of 0%. Yet, when seeds were stratified at 41 °F (5 °C) the germination rate increased to 46%. Common spikerush seeds collected from eastern Ontario, southwestern Quebec, and southern Nova Scotia, Canada, during September and October 1988, and planted in a greenhouse had a very low germination rate. The seeds were stratified at 39 °F (4 °C) for 9 months then planted in pots on 13 July 1989. Thirty days later, the germination rate of common spikerush was 8% [153]. Seeds taken from the Ottawa River, Ontario, and planted in a greenhouse had a germination rate of 5% [173].

Seedling establishment/growth: Weiher and others [174] planted common spikerush seeds in an outdoor garden mimicking marsh conditions. While the germination rate was low (5%), after 5 years of growth the seeds that germinated were firmly established and thrived in the garden.

Asexual regeneration: Common spikerush ramets harvested from field sites in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia were successfully grown in greenhouses by researchers at the University of Ottawa [89]. Common spikerush rhizomes were taken from wetlands of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, Canada, and planted in a greenhouse garden to investigate homogeneous growth. The common spikerush rhizomes were planted in greenhouses within common spikerush only communities and within communities consisting of 45 wetland species in May 1991. In August 1991, the common spikerush plants were harvested in both communities and the aboveground biomass was oven dried. The mean weight (grams) of common spikerush was significantly (p

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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [15]:





1 Northern Pacific Border

2 Cascade Mountains

3 Southern Pacific Border

4 Sierra Mountains

5 Columbia Plateau

6 Upper Basin and Range

7 Lower Basin and Range

8 Northern Rocky Mountains

9 Middle Rocky Mountains

10 Wyoming Basin

11 Southern Rocky Mountains

12 Colorado Plateau

13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont

14 Great Plains

15 Black Hills Uplift

16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

States or Provinces

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(key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY
CANADA AB BC MB NT NS ON PQ SK YK
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Successional Status

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Common spikerush is shade intolerant [166] and thrives on disturbed sites [38,49,111,112,126,164,16]. It is primarily an early-seral species [8,38,65,91,111,112,118,151,16], but may be found on early, mid-, and late or "climax" successional sites [65,68,67,164].

It is found in primary successional wetlands on Mount St. Helens, Washington [38]. An analysis of vegetation 14 years following the eruption of Mount St. Helens, found common spikerush on primary and secondary successional substrate sites [164]. In the Copper River Delta of Alaska, common spikerush is an early seral species on uplifted tidal marshes (30 years after uplifting) and a primary successional species on newly uplifted tidal mudflats [16]. Common spikerush rapidly colonizes moist mineral surfaces adjacent to active stream channels following flooding disturbances in the Trout Creek Mountains of southeastern Oregon [49]. Common spikerush is described as an early-seral species on ponds with low anaerobic conditions in the Independence and Copper Ranges of the northeastern Great Basin, Nevada, and the Toiyabe and Humboldt National Forests of California and Nevada [111,112]. Medina [118] describes common spikerush as frequently occurring as a pioneer species on new streambanks, particularly in F-type stream channels (laterally unstable with high bank erosion and very high width/depth ratios caused by channel adjustments initiated by down-cutting). Common spikerush is found in early succession in 7 restored freshwater marshes in northern Indiana [91]. In 1988, 64 depressional farmed basins in northern Iowa, southern Minnesota, and southeastern North Dakota were restored to wetlands. On 15 to 19 of those sites, common spikerush was an early seral species [126].

As water levels rise in spring, common spikerush emerges as a dominant overstory species at the margin of marshes in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Saskatchewan [8,151].

In southern and eastern Idaho common spikerush represents an early seral species on ponds and streambanks where water is at or above the ground surface. However, where dense growth of common spikerush is found on continually saturated soils it may represent a "climax" species given how difficult it is to displace [65]. In Montana riparian areas, common spikerush may be an early, mid-, or late seral species or a "climax" species [68,67].

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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Synonyms

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Eleocharis macrostachya Britt. [74,88,104,114,115,127]

Eleocharis smallii Britt. [101,104,161,169]

Eleocharis xyridiformis Fern & Brack. [104]
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Taxonomy

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The currently accepted scientific name of common spikerush is Eleocharis
palustris (L.) Roemer & J.A. Schultes (Cyperaceae) [2,18,76, 33,39,42,43,44,59,84,86,102,136,140,171,180,75]. There are no recognized varieties or
subspecies.
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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

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Common spikerush has high erosion control potential in riparian and wetland areas [17,68,82,112,177].

From 15 to 25 March, 1994, 18 common spikerush wetland plugs were harvested from Haskell-Baker Wetlands, Kansas, using a 20-inch (50-cm) diameter tree spade and transplanted to Santa Fe Wetlands, Kansas. Survival rate of common spikerush plugs was over 90%. The mean area of common spikerush plugs in October 1994 was 7.19 feet² (0.67 m²) and increased annually to reach 86.6 foot² (8 m²) 3 years later. Common spikerush growth was significantly (p<0.05) greater on sites where the water table was 8.3 to 16 inches (21-40 cm) below soil surface [52].

Over 1 million acres (400,000 ha) of Kansas farmland is salt-affected. The Nature Conservancy has successfully used common spikerush to rehabilitate moist basins in the Cheyenne Bottoms of Kansas [92].

There is 1 common spikerush cultivar available ('Common') [165].

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Hauser, A. Scott. 2006. Eleocharis palustris. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us /database/feis/plants/graminoid/elepal/all.html

Eleocharis palustris

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Eleocharis palustris, the common spike-rush, creeping spike-rush or marsh spike-rush, is a species of mat-forming perennial flowering plants in the sedge family Cyperaceae. It grows in wetlands in Europe, North Africa, northern and central Asia (Siberia, China, Mongolia, Iran, Nepal, etc.) and North America (United States, Canada, Greenland, northern Mexico).[1][2][3][4][5][6] Eleocharis palustris is not easily distinguished from other closely related species and is extremely variable worldwide itself. The species epithet palustris is Latin for "of the marsh" and indicates its common habitat.[7]

Subspecies and varieties

Numerous names have been proposed for subspecies and varieties. The following are recognized:[1]

  1. Eleocharis palustris subsp. iranica Kukkonen - Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan
  2. Eleocharis palustris subsp. palustris - most of species range
  3. Eleocharis palustris var. vigens L.H.Bailey - North America
  4. Eleocharis palustris subsp. waltersii Bureš & Danihelka - Europe and Cyprus
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Eleocharis palustris in Rehovot vernal pool, Israel

References

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Eleocharis palustris: Brief Summary

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Eleocharis palustris, the common spike-rush, creeping spike-rush or marsh spike-rush, is a species of mat-forming perennial flowering plants in the sedge family Cyperaceae. It grows in wetlands in Europe, North Africa, northern and central Asia (Siberia, China, Mongolia, Iran, Nepal, etc.) and North America (United States, Canada, Greenland, northern Mexico). Eleocharis palustris is not easily distinguished from other closely related species and is extremely variable worldwide itself. The species epithet palustris is Latin for "of the marsh" and indicates its common habitat.

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