Open the Advanced Search

Slender Spike-rush

Eleocharis uniglumis

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Cyperaceae (Sedge)
Also in this family:
American Galingale, Birdsfoot Sedge, Black Alpine Sedge, Black Bog-rush, Bladder Sedge, Bog Sedge, Bottle Sedge, Bristle Club-rush, Bristle Sedge, Broad-leaved Cotton-grass, Brown Beak-sedge, Brown Bog-rush, Chestnut Rush, Close-headed Alpine Sedge, Club Sedge, Common Club-rush, Common Cotton-grass, Common Sedge, Common Spike-rush, Curved Sedge, Deergrass, Dioecious Sedge, Distant Sedge, Divided Sedge, Dotted Sedge, Downy-fruited Sedge, Dwarf Sedge, Dwarf Spike-rush, Estuarine Sedge, False Fox Sedge, False Sedge, Few-flowered Sedge, Few-flowered Spike-rush, Fibrous Tussock Sedge, Fingered Sedge, Flat Sedge, Flea Sedge, Floating Club-rush, Gingerbread Sedge, Glaucous Sedge, Great Fen Sedge, Greater Pond Sedge, Greater Tussock Sedge, Green-ribbed Sedge, Grey Club-rush, Grey Sedge, Hair Sedge, Hairy Sedge, Haresfoot Sedge, Hare's-tail Cotton-grass, Heath Sedge, Hop Sedge, Large Yellow Sedge, Lesser Pond Sedge, Lesser Tussock Sedge, Long-bracted Sedge, Many-stalked Spike-rush, Mountain Bog Sedge, Needle Spike-rush, Northern Deergrass, Northern Spike-rush, Oval Sedge, Pale Sedge, Pendulous Sedge, Perennial Sedge, Pill Sedge, Prickly Sedge, Remote Sedge, Rock Sedge, Round-headed Club-rush, Russet Sedge, Salt Sedge, Sand Sedge, Scorched Alpine Sedge, Sea Club-rush, Sheathed Sedge, Slender Club-rush, Slender Cotton-grass, Slender Sedge, Slender Tufted Sedge, Smooth-stalked Sedge, Soft-leaved Sedge, Spiked Sedge, Spring Sedge, Star Sedge, Starved Wood Sedge, Stiff Sedge, String Sedge, Sweet Galingale, Tall Bog Sedge, Tawny Sedge, Thin-spiked Wood Sedge, Triangular Club-rush, True Fox Sedge, Tufted Sedge, Water Sedge, White Beak-sedge, White Sedge, Wood Club-rush, Wood Sedge, Yellow Sedge
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, grassland, marshes, meadows, riversides, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
Compact, brown, cylindrical flower spike, up to 1.2cm long. Each flower has 2 stigmas.
A brown nut, up to 2mm across.
Slender Spike-rush is similar to Common Spike-rush (Eleocharis palustris) but thinner. The stems are also shinier. The stems have leafless, cylindrical, erect stems (rarely over 1mm wide). The lower sheaths are purplish-red. Perennial.
Other Names:
Needle Spikerush, One-glumed Spikerush, Single-glumed Spike-rush.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Eleocharis uniglumis, also known as "needle spikerush," is a species of rush that is native to wetlands in parts of North America, including Canada and the United States. It is a perennial herb that typically grows to a height of about 15-30 centimeters (6-12 inches) and has narrow, pointed leaves. The flowers are small and inconspicuous and are arranged in spikes at the top of the stem. It prefers wet soil, such as those found in marshes, fens, bogs, along the edges of ponds, lakes and streams. It is commonly used in wetland restoration projects and can help to stabilize shorelines and control erosion. Due to its tolerance to wet soil, it can be planted in rain gardens, and can be used in ornamental gardening, particularly in water gardens and bog gardens.


Slender Spike-rush (Eleocharis uniglumis) is a common wetland plant that is found in various regions around the world, including North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is a member of the Cyperaceae family and is commonly known as a spike-rush or hairgrass. This plant is a popular choice for wetland restoration projects and is often found in marshes, bogs, and shallow water bodies.

Slender Spike-rush has a distinctive appearance that makes it easy to identify. It has a slender stem that can grow up to 60 cm tall, and the stem is topped with a spikelet that contains small flowers. The flowers are greenish-brown in color and are usually arranged in a loose cluster at the top of the stem. The leaves of the plant are very thin and thread-like, and they grow from the base of the stem.

One of the unique features of Slender Spike-rush is that it only has one seed per flower. This is in contrast to many other plants in the Cyperaceae family, which often have multiple seeds per flower. The seeds of Slender Spike-rush are small and black and are dispersed by wind or water.

Slender Spike-rush is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of wetland habitats. It is often found in marshes, fens, and bogs, where it grows in dense stands. It is also commonly found along the edges of ponds, lakes, and streams. This plant is an important part of wetland ecosystems and provides habitat and food for a variety of animals, including birds, insects, and small mammals.

In addition to its ecological importance, Slender Spike-rush has also been used for a variety of purposes by humans. It has been used as a traditional medicine for treating a variety of ailments, including digestive problems and skin conditions. The plant has also been used for weaving and basket making, and the leaves were traditionally used for making twine.

Slender Spike-rush is a versatile and important wetland plant that plays an important role in the ecosystem. It is easy to identify, hardy, and adaptable, making it a popular choice for wetland restoration projects. Its unique features and historical uses make it an interesting plant to study and appreciate.

Slender Spike-rush is an excellent plant for wetland restoration projects due to its ability to thrive in a variety of conditions. It is tolerant of fluctuating water levels and can grow in both standing and flowing water. It is also able to tolerate a range of soil types, including sandy and silty soils.

The plant is an important component of wetland ecosystems because it helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. Its dense root system helps to hold the soil in place, which is particularly important in areas that are prone to flooding. The plant also provides habitat for a variety of wetland animals, including insects, birds, and small mammals.

In addition to its ecological importance, Slender Spike-rush is also an important cultural plant for many Indigenous communities. It has been used for a variety of traditional purposes, including basket weaving, medicine, and food. The seeds of the plant are edible and were traditionally used as a food source by many Indigenous groups.

Slender Spike-rush is also an important plant for water quality management. It has the ability to absorb excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from the water. This makes it an excellent choice for wetland restoration projects in areas where water quality is a concern.

One of the interesting aspects of Slender Spike-rush is its ability to hybridize with other species within the Eleocharis genus. Hybridization can create new plant species with unique characteristics, which can have important ecological and evolutionary implications. Slender Spike-rush is known to hybridize with several other species within the genus, including Eleocharis palustris and Eleocharis tenuis.

In addition to its ecological and cultural importance, Slender Spike-rush has also been the subject of scientific research. Researchers have studied the plant's physiology, growth patterns, and genetic makeup, in order to better understand its ecological role and potential uses in wetland restoration projects.

Studies have shown that Slender Spike-rush can effectively absorb excess nutrients from the water, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can help to improve water quality in wetland ecosystems. Researchers have also investigated the plant's potential use in phytoremediation, which involves using plants to remove pollutants from soil and water.

Slender Spike-rush is an important plant for wetland restoration projects and is often used to help restore degraded wetlands. Its ability to absorb excess nutrients from the water and stabilize the soil make it an important component of wetland ecosystems. The plant's cultural significance and historical uses also highlight the important relationship between humans and wetland ecosystems.

Overall, Slender Spike-rush is a fascinating plant that has a variety of ecological, cultural, and scientific significance. Its ability to thrive in wetland environments and adapt to changing conditions makes it an important plant for wetland restoration projects and a valuable plant to study and appreciate.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map