Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Eleocharis parvula (Roem. & J.A. Schultes) Link ex Bluff & Fingerh.
- Family: Sedge (Cyperaceae)
- Flowering: July-October
- Field Marks: This mat-forming tiny perennial is distinguished by its often thread-like stems,
its flattened, ovate spikelets up to 1/6 inch long, and its tiny, pale brown achene with a
- Habitat: Wet soil, usually in brackish or saline areas.
- Habit: Tufted perennial herb from thread-like stolons, with brown or purple tubers up to
1/4 inch long.
- Stems: Often thread-like, smooth, sometimes spongy, up to 3 inches tall, bearing a single
spike at the tip.
- Leaves: Reduced to basal sheaths.
- Flowers: Crowded into a terminal spike, the spike flattened, ovate, up to 1/6 inch long,
2- to 9-flowered; scales ovate, rounded at the tip, green to pale brown, about 1/10 inch long.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles usually 3.
- Fruits: Achenes triangular, obovoid, pale brown, about 1/20 inch long, with a minute,
terminal tubercle; tubercle triangular; bristles about as long as the achene, or longer, usually
retrorsely barbed, or even absent.
- Notes: The entire plant is sometimes eaten by waterfowl.
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