Common spike-rush

Common Spike-rush

©Neil Wyatt

Common spike-rush

Scientific name: Eleocharis palustris
Forming mats of straight, bright green stems, Common spike-rush does, indeed, look like lots of tightly clustered 'spikes' near the water's edge of our wetland habitats.

Species information


Height: up to 60cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


A creeping plant found on marshes and at pond edges, Common spike-rush is widespread and common sedge. Its bright green stems arise in tufts and are decorated with brown, egg-shaped flowers from May to July. It spreads using rhizomes (underground stems) and can form dense stands.

How to identify

Common spike-rush forms mats of bright green, upright stems. At the end of the stems, the rounded, brown spikelet (containing the flowers) appears.



Did you know?

The leaves of Common spike-rush are reduced to sheaves around the stems, so it looks as if it has none at all.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.