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Elocharis Acicularis- Least Spikerush

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Elocharis Acicularis- Least Spikerush

One of the smallest members of the Spikerush family, Least Spikerush, or Eleocharis Acicularis, stands only 12 inches high at maturity. The plant also goes by the names Needle Spikerush and Dwarf Hairgrass.

This perennial grows throughout the contiguous 48 states as well as every province in Canada in USDA Zone 3 through 11. Least Spikerush is typically found anywhere with wet conditions, such as slough, ditches, fields, marshes, and swamps. It prefers full sun and soil made of silt, sand or mud. As one of the most common members of the Spikerush family, it can readily adapt to fluctuations in the amount of water, although it like non-alkaline water. Most of its growth occurs during the height of summer.

The plant has two bladeless leaves with an upper sheath that is thin and papery. Its stems are extraordinarily slender and generally round with up to 12 vertical ridges. At the base of this single culm is a truncate sheath that is usually tan to light brown. The submerged portions of this plan often appear as steams with thread-like white rhizomes. Least Spikerush has a terrestrial as well as an aquatic form, which varies slightly from one another.

White blooms occur at the top of the plant, which ends in a spikelet. Flowering occurs from mid-summer through fall, with a colony of Spikerushes experiencing a blooming period that lasts about two weeks. The wind cross-pollinates flowers, which are arranged in a spikelet of four to 25 florets spirally arranged. Individual flowers produce a single achene that drops off independently. These are up to 1.1 millimeters in length and may be light brown, yellowish or grayish white. The achene may be surrounded by two to four barbed bristles ranging in color from white to pale brown.

Eleocharis acicularis is ideal for ponds and basins and other areas that have large drawdowns. It seeds are eaten by many different wetland birds.

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