Wildflowers, Plants and Ferns, Pacific Northwest
Creeping Spike Rush grows in all regions of the Pacific Northwest Coastal Region. It can be found growing in most wetlands, ponds and shallow lakes, you can see it in the shallows of slow moving streams and even in the estuaries. This plant provides a service as as wildlife food and cover.
The dense root system of rhizomes are great at stabilizing stream banks and pond shores. The rhizomes also form a base for many beneficial bacteria to be produced in, making this plant an excellent choice to be used for wastewater treatment ponds.
Creeping spike rush is a perennial plant of the Eleocharis family, it is a wetland plant that is found growing from seaside to 1000 meters. It’s roots can be deeper than 40 cm. Round stems rise singly or in clusters from root rhizomes. Stems seem to be leafless but if you look at the base of the plant, you will see reddish sheaths clustered at the base of each stem, these are its leaves. Stems may grow to as much as 1.5 meters tall, seems the reason for various heights is based on the depth of the water it is growing in. Plants flower from June to September. Flowers become conical seed heads that remain for quite some time. Large land animals like deer and elk will feed on the upper plant after it has flowered.
I have been canoeing on lakes where these plants grow along side channels that cut through the lake shores, the reeds have been so high and thick as to block your view. Canoeing around the bends has always intrigued me and on occasion, it has led to some interesting encounters with geese, loons, muskrats and beavers.