Common Spikerush – Eleocharis palustris

The common spike-rush is strikingly similar in look to a tall grass. But that is perhaps, where its similarities end. Typically found in lowland tropical wetlands, most often along banks of the water. Typically small groupings can get about as tall as four feet, sometimes with entire rushes submerged underwater. These perennial plants don’t actually have any leaves on them, instead of having developed sheath-like implements along their bases which are nutrient rich. One of the key giveaways that it is spike rush and not a tall grass, are the petite fruiting spikes on the tops of all blades. Not much soil is needed to plant this fast growing ground cover, in fact, two to five inches of water is more than adequate to produce full and hearty patches of spike-rush. They do well when planted on the edges of bodies of water or streams as they provide many nutrients to native bird and fish life. The thick clumps and wispy nature of the spike rush mean it can provide a good edge to a pond or property line that abuts water. Because of the dense nature of the rhizomes in and along its root system, the spike rush helps maintain excellent water clarity.

The popularity of spike-rush with landscapers in lowland tropical and wetlands is unmistakable. A hardy plant that can survive very much on its own and thrive in areas where many others would drown. Not only does this ground covering plant add a height to the edges of bodies of water, it is almost whimsical in nature when the wind hits it. There is even a bird in Australia that uses the stems and roots of spike-rush for much of its nutritional intake.The spike-rush is a wonderful addition to anyone looking to liven up water features or streams. Requiring little to no work to maintain is also a plus.