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Needle Spike-rush

Eleocharis acicularis

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.
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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, 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 Spike-rush, 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:
30 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, gardens, marshes, meadows, mud, ponds, riversides, water, waterside, wetland.

Brown, no petals
A compact, brown spikelet, up to 6mm long.
The fruit is a brown nut.
Compact, slender, grass-like, 4-angled stems. The lowest glume is less than half the length of the spikelet. Perennial.
Other Names:
Dwarf Hair Grass, Hair Grass, Least Spikerush, Needle Rush.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Eleocharis acicularis, also known as needle spikerush or dwarf hairgrass, is a species of rush that is native to wetlands in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. 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 can be found in a variety of wetland habitats such as marshes, fens, bogs, along the edges of ponds, lakes and streams, and can also be found in damp meadows and wet prairies. It is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, from clay to sand and can grow in a variety of light conditions. Due to its tolerance to wet soil and its ability to grow in different environments it is commonly used in wetland restoration projects and can help to stabilize shorelines and control erosion. It can also be used in ornamental gardening, particularly in water gardens and bog gardens.


The Needle Spike-rush, also known as Eleocharis acicularis, is a popular aquatic plant that is frequently used in freshwater aquariums and aquascapes. This delicate-looking plant is native to North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, and it is a member of the Cyperaceae family. In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics and care requirements of the Needle Spike-rush.

Appearance and Characteristics

The Needle Spike-rush is a thin, grass-like plant with a height of around 2-4 inches (5-10 cm). It has bright green foliage that grows in a dense cluster, creating a lush and natural appearance. The leaves are thin and straight, with a needle-like appearance that gives the plant its common name. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are usually not visible in aquariums.

The Needle Spike-rush is a hardy plant that can thrive in a variety of water conditions. It is typically sold in small pots, and the roots are covered in a gel-like substance that helps to protect the plant during transport.

Care Requirements

The Needle Spike-rush is a relatively easy plant to care for and is a great choice for beginners in the aquarium hobby. It requires moderate to high lighting and prefers a pH range of 6.5-7.5. The plant can be grown in both soft and hard water, but it may not thrive in extremely hard water conditions.

The plant does best in nutrient-rich substrate, such as aqua soil or clay-based substrate. The roots of the Needle Spike-rush should be planted firmly in the substrate, and the plant should not be allowed to float freely in the aquarium.

The Needle Spike-rush is a fast-growing plant that can quickly fill out an aquarium. Regular trimming is necessary to keep the plant from becoming too tall or too dense. The plant can be propagated by dividing the clumps, and the new sections can be replanted in the aquarium.

The Needle Spike-rush is an attractive and easy-to-care-for plant that can add a touch of natural beauty to any freshwater aquarium or aquascape. With the right conditions and regular maintenance, this plant can thrive and provide a lush and natural environment for your aquatic pets. If you are looking for a hardy and versatile aquatic plant, the Needle Spike-rush is an excellent choice.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the Needle Spike-rush also provides a range of benefits to your aquarium. As a fast-growing plant, it can help to absorb excess nutrients from the water, reducing the risk of algae growth and improving water quality. It can also provide shelter and hiding places for fish and other aquatic creatures, helping to create a more natural and comfortable environment.

When it comes to planting the Needle Spike-rush, it's important to keep in mind that it can spread quickly and may overtake other plants in the aquarium if not kept in check. It's best to plant it in a designated area or container to prevent it from spreading too far.

While the Needle Spike-rush is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant, it can still be affected by common aquarium issues such as nutrient imbalances, algae growth, and pests. Regular monitoring of water parameters and maintenance can help to prevent these issues and keep the plant healthy and thriving.

The Needle Spike-rush is an excellent choice for aquarists looking to add a touch of natural beauty to their aquariums. With its delicate appearance, fast growth rate, and easy care requirements, it is a popular choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists alike.

In addition to being a popular plant for aquariums, the Needle Spike-rush is also commonly used in pond and wetland restoration projects. Due to its ability to absorb excess nutrients and pollutants from the water, it is often used to help improve water quality in natural bodies of water.

The plant is also used in natural landscaping and gardening projects, as it can add a natural, grassy texture to outdoor spaces. It can be planted in moist soil or in shallow water, making it a versatile and hardy plant for a variety of environments.

One thing to note is that while the Needle Spike-rush is a hardy and fast-growing plant, it may not be compatible with all fish species. Some fish may nibble on the delicate foliage, which can cause damage to the plant. If you have fish that are known to be plant eaters, you may want to consider other types of aquarium plants that are less likely to be eaten.

Overall, the Needle Spike-rush is a versatile and attractive plant that can add natural beauty to a variety of environments. With its easy care requirements and range of benefits, it is a popular choice for aquariums, wetland restoration projects, and outdoor landscaping.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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