Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Eleocharis rostellata


SPECIES: Eleocharis rostellata
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Carey, Jennifer H. 1994. Eleocharis rostellata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ELEROS SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : ELRO2 COMMON NAMES : beaked spikerush TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for beaked spikerush is Eleocharis rostellata (Torr.) Torr. (Cyperaceae) [4,12,13,21]. There are no currently accepted infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : See OTHER STATUS OTHER STATUS : Beaked spikerush is on numerous state lists of sensitive, threatened, and endangered plants. It is listed as endangered in Maine [5], extremely rare in Delaware [34], vulnerable in Virginia [25], critically imperiled in North Carolina [38], threatened in Illinois [15] and Montana [22], critically rare in South Dakota [17], and sensitive in Washington [37]. Beaked spikerush is globally secure [22,38].


SPECIES: Eleocharis rostellata
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Beaked spikerush is widespread in the Americas from southern Canada south through Mexico to the West Indies, the Caribbean, and the South American Andes [4]. Although it is widespread in the conterminous United States, beaked spikerush occurs in scattered disjunct populations [12,13]. It may not be present in every state, especially in the Appalachian Mountains and the Ozark Mountains. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES29 Sagebrush FRES30 Desert shrub FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES41 Wet grasslands Beaked spikerush probably occurs in many other ecosystems. STATES : AL AZ CA CO CT DE FL GA ID IL IN IA KS LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TX UT VT VA WA WI WY BC NS ON MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K049 Tule marshes K073 Northern cordgrass prairie K078 Southern cordgrass prairie K094 Conifer bog SAF COVER TYPES : 37 Northern white-cedar SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Beaked spikerush occurs in saline or alkaline wetlands [13,21,23]. In Montana thermal areas and alkaline seeps, beaked spikerush occurs with common arrowgrass (Triglochin maritimum), hardstem bulrush (Scirpus acutus), Torrey's rush (Juncus torreyi), and alkali muhly (Muhlenbergia asperifolia). Adjacent wetlands may be dominated by hardstem bulrush or common arrowgrass [14]. In a saline meadow near Utah Lake, Utah, beaked spikerush occurs at low densities in a common spikerush (Eleocharis palustris) community with sea milkwort (Glaux maritima), saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), and Baltic rush (Juncus balticus) [3]. In northern Minnesota, beaked spikerush occurs near spring-fen channel margins with mud sedge (Carex limosa), lesser panicle sedge (C. diandra), tufted bulrush (Scirpus cespitosus), whitebeaked rush (Rhynchospora alba), and common reed (Phragmites australis). These channels have standing water and lack forest cover [10,11]. In a Delaware salt marsh, beaked spikerush is associated with saltgrass, Olney threesquare (S. americanus), and saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) [31]. Beaked spikerush is codominant in meadows in western New York with needle beaksedge (Rhynochospora capillacea). It forms small mounds or tussocks within moss (Campylium stellatum) mats. It also occurs with low nutrush (Scleria verticillata) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans). [29]. At a calcareous seep in Illinois with sparse to patchy ground cover, beaked spikerush and shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) are dominant. Needle beaksedge and tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa) also occur [33].


SPECIES: Eleocharis rostellata
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Waterfowl eat the stems, roots, and achenes of spikerush (Eleocharis spp.) [13]. PALATABILITY : Spikerush palatability is low for livestock and wildlife [19]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Beaked spikerush habitat is threatened by development of coastal plains and thermal areas [22,25]. Livestock damage the narrow spikerush zone at stream margins while drinking and feeding [19].


SPECIES: Eleocharis rostellata
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Beaked spikerush is a native, tufted perennial sedge with short, stout, often ascending or nearly vertical rhizomes [4,13,21,26]. Roots are shallow; in a New York fen, 65 percent or more of beaked spikerush roots were in the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil [30]. The flattened, wiry culms are mostly 1.3 to 3.3 feet (0.4-1.0 m) long. There are three types of culms: layering, which root at the tips upon contact with moist soil, fertile, and sterile. Spikes are 0.3 to 0.8 inches (0.8-2.0 cm) long and have many flowers [4,13,21,26]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Beaked spikerush regenerates vegetatively by sprouting and layering. It sprouts from short shallow rhizomes, and it has elongated layering culms which arch to the ground and root in moist soil from the apical bulbil [4,23,30,39]. Beaked spikerush does not have long creeping rhizomes so is not as colonial as common spikerush [13,21]. More biomass is allocated to reproduction on nutrient-poor sites than on more fertile sites [30]. Beaked spikerush also regenerates by seed [6,29]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Beaked spikerush is an obligate wetland species [28]. It occurs in many types of alkaline wetlands including salt and brackish marshes, tidal flats, alkaline seeps, bogs, stream margins, hot spring edges, and swamps [12,13,21,23]. Beaked spikerush occurs near springs and seeps in desert areas of the Southwest [24,39]. The depth to the water table averages 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) for beaked spikerush sites in New York [29]. In Ohio, beaked spikerush forms solid mats in meadows where the water table is at or above the soil surface [8]. In northern Minnesota, beaked spikerush occurs 4 inches (10 cm) above the water table in spring-fen channels with peaty soil [10,11]. In a fen in New York, beaked spikerush occurs on wet minerotrophic sites, nutrient-poor marl beds, and organic soils. (Marl beds are soils formed from calcium carbonate precipitates.) Average soil pH for all sites in New York was greater than 7.0 [30]. In the Minnesota spring-fen, groundwater discharge from calcareous till maintains a pH greater than 7.0 and calcium concentrations between 20 and 45 milligrams per liter [10,11]. Brotherson [3] studied soil characteristics of a common spikerush community in Utah in which beaked spikerush averaged 0.6 percent cover. Soil pH averaged 7.7, soluble salts averaged 4,003 parts per million, and organic matter averaged 32.7 percent. The mineral fraction averaged 13 percent sand, 48 percent silt, and 39 percent clay [3]. Beaked spikerush occurs from sea level in Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coast salt marshes and tidal flats [13,16,23] to nearly 9,000 feet (2,700 m) elevation in Colorado [6]. In Montana, it primarily occurs in valley and foothill zones from 3,200 to 5,500 feet (915-1,675 m) elevation [22]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Beaked spikerush is an early colonizer of marl beds by seeding into wet depressions [29.30]. After colonization, the marl sites in the Byron-Bergen Swamp in western New York accumulate peat and gradually become small hummocks dominated by beaked spikerush, needle beaksedge, and moss. These small hummocks succeed to either moss mats with tufted bulrush or large hummocks with shrubs and northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis), tamarack (Larix laricina), and eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) [29]. Succession towards northern white-cedar communities is accelerated by a decrease in the water table level [8]. Beaked spikerush remained in a Delaware marsh dominated by Olney threesquare, saltmeadow cordgrass, and saltgrass for 20 years. During this time the marsh accumlated 4 inches (10 cm) of mud and debris [31]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Beaked spikerush generally flowers from July to September [21,26]. In the Rocky Mountain region it flowers in July and August [4,22].


SPECIES: Eleocharis rostellata
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Beaked spikerush probably survives low-severity fire by sprouting from rhizomes. In salt marshes of the Gulf Coast, prescribed low-severity winter fires maintain early successional genera such as Scirpus and Eleocharis [40]. Spikerushes occur on sites that experience high-severity fire during extreme drought when water table levels drop [1,18]. High-severity fires in coastal marshes result in either root burns or peat burns. Root burns kill dense climax vegetation in marshes and allow earlier successional plants such as spikerush to colonize the site. Peat fires burn holes in the marsh floor and create areas of open water [41]. The chance of fire in any given year in most marshes is low due to moisture conditions. Marshes in the southeastern United States are subject to severe drought coinciding with lightning ignition approximately once every 30 to 100 years [18]. Salt marshes of the Gulf Coast burn readily and are often ignited by lightning [41]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil Tussock graminoid


SPECIES: Eleocharis rostellata
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Beaked spikerush is probably top-killed by fire. Shallow rhizomes may be damaged or killed by high-severity fire [18]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Beaked spikerush probably sprouts from rhizomes after low-severity fire. It may disappear from a site after high-severity fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Prescribed fire is not practical in spikerush communities except during drought years. Fire will reduce litter accumulation but will not change species composition unless the fire burns the organic soil and rhizomes are killed [19].


SPECIES: Eleocharis rostellata
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