Eleocharis parvula (Roemer & J.A. Schultes) Link ex Bluff, Nees & Schauer
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Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Eleocharis
Species Synonyms: Eleocharis parvula var. anachaeta (Torr.) Svens.
Eleocharis parvula var. coloradoensis (Britt.) Beetle
Eleocharis leptos (Steud.) Svens.
Eleocharis leptos var. coloradoensis (Britt.) Svens.
Eleocharis leptos var. johnstonii Svens.
Eleocharis membranacea Gilly
Eleocharis coloradoensis (Britt.) Gilly
Common Names: dwarf spikerush
dwarf spikesedge
little-head spikerush
small spikerush
Canada: southwestern Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan: southwestern Saskatchewan; Webb – Tessier
Ecoregion: Moist Mixed Grassland, Mixed Grassland
Saskatchewan: moist shores of saline lakes
Associated Species: Chenopodium rubrum, Rumex sp., Schoenoplectus maritimus, Spergularia salina var. salina, Symphyotrichum ciliatum
Provincial Status According
to Harms (2003):
Nature Conservancy Status:
G5 N3 S1
Saskatchewan Species at
Risk Status:
Eleocharis parvula is threatened in Saskatchewan because it is extremely rare and is limited to one general region of the province. This species is usually locally numerous but within limited areas. Possible threats have been identified for this species. Eleocharis parvula has not been reported elsewhere in Canada and the Saskatchewan populations may represent a northern range extension.
Height: 2 – 7 cm
Roots: rhizome short, terminated by J- or U-shaped tubers; tubers 4 – 5 mm long, narrowly fusiform, straight
Culms: perennial, mat-forming, filiform, terete
Leaves: blade bearing leaves absent; leaf sheaths short and membranous
Inflorescence: spikelet terminal, solitary, erect
Spikelets: 2 – 4 mm long, ovoid; floral scales 6 – 10 per spikelet, ovate, lowest one empty, entirely stramineus or green to brown
Flowers: 2 – 9 per spikelet; perfect; perianth bristles 6 or absent, stout to slender, usually about same length as achene, stramineus; styles 3-cleft
Achenes: obovoid, thickly trigonous, angles distinct, stramineus or pale brown or black; tubercles short
1 Achenes with 9 – 13 longitudinal rows of horizontal ridges between prominent longitudinal ridges and achene angles; spikelets with proximal scale always subtending a flower; culms to 1.5 mm wide
E. acicularis
1 Achenes without long rows of horizontal ridges; proximal scale subtending a flower or empty; culms to 5 mm wide
2 Tubercle conical, confluent with achene; stigmas 3
2 Large shrub; leaflets lobed, less than 3 cm long; fruits red and hairy
3 Spikelets to 3 mm long, internodes equal in thickness and length throughout the spikelet; scales 5 – 500 per spikelet, green or pale brown; stems < 10 cm tall; rhizome lacking a bulb
E. parvula
3 Spikelets to 7 mm long, proximal internodes thicker and shorter than internodes in the middle of the spikelet; scales 4 – 12 per spikelet, tinged with purple or brown; stems to 40 cm tall; rhizomes bulbous
E. quinquefolia
4 Styles 2-fid; achenes biconvex
4 Styles 3-fid; achenes trigonous
5 Tufted annuals, roots fibrous; achenes green, stramineus, or black; anthers 0.2 – 1 mm long
E. engelmannii
5 Perennials with rhizomes or stolons; achenes yellow to dark brown; anthers 1 – 2.5 mm long
6 Apex of distal leaf sheath with distinct tooth on all or some culms; base of spikelet with single empty scale nearly enclosing culm
E. erythropoda
6 Apex of distal leaf sheath without distinct tooth on all culms; base of spikelet with 2 or 3 firm, empty scales
E. palustris
7 Achenes biconvex (or < 1/3 of achenes trigonous); tufted annuals; spikelets never proliferous
E. engelmannii
7 Achenes trigonous; annuals or perennials, rhizomatous or stoloniferous; spikelets may be proliferous
8 Achene surface honey-comb reticulate; tubercle broader than high; culms to 90 cm tall
E. elliptica
8 Achene surface minutely wrinkled or roughened but not reticulate; tubercle longer than broad; culms to 40 cm tall
9 Spikelets < 5 mm long; culms 4-angled and capillary
E. nitida
9 Spikelets to greater than 1 cm long; culms flat and wiry
E. compressa