Eleocharis palustris

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: creeping spike rush 
Type: Rush or Sedge
Family: Cyperaceae
Native Range: Temperate northern hemisphere
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Greenish-brown
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Erosion, Wet Soil


Best in full sun to part shade. Plants are typically grown in ponds, bogs or other shallow water areas, including sites that are permanently or seasonally flooded. Can grow in water up to 3' deep. In situations where flood waters gradually disappear over summer, plants can still survive in fall as long as soils are saturated. Spreads by rhizomes. Propagate by dividing the rhizomes. Plants may self-seed. Plant new plants (plugs is the best way) 12-18" apart in saturated soils (best with no more than 3" of standing water during the first growing season).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eleocharis palustris, commonly called creeping spike rush, is a rhizomatous, wetland obligate perennial of the sedge family. It is native to marshes, wet meadows, springs, rivers, pond/lake margins, shores, ditches and brackish waters throughout the U. S., Canada, Europe and Asia. Round, upright, green stems rise singly or in clusters from plant rhizomes. Stems appear leafless (true leaves are bladeless reddish sheaths clustered at the base of each stem). Stems may grow to as much as 4' tall (height is dependent on the depth of the water in which the plant is growing). The stems provide the photosynthesis for the plant. Each stem is topped by a solitary terminal spikelet of inconspicuous greenish-brown flowers. Plants flower from June to September. Flowers are followed by conical scaly yellow-brown seedheads.

Genus name comes from the Greek words elos meaning marsh and charis meaning grace.

Specific epithet means of marshes.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids.


Rarely used as an ornamental plant. Water gardens, bog gardens, ponds or along streams.