Few-flowered Spike-rush

Eleocharis quinqueflora

A delicate looking Spike-rush scarce in Oxfordshire


Few-flowered Spike-rush is actually a sedge, a beautiful perennial species that bears a solitary dark spikelet at the tip of a leafless stem. This is a slender spike-rush with stems clustered on a short rhizome, that can reach up to 30cm when mature. Few-flowered Spike-rush flowers from late June through late July; and its fruiting occurs from early July through late September. 


Few-flowered Spike-rush can be found at base-rich marshes and fens, calcareous flushes on peaty soils, also in coastal cliff-flushes, dune-slacks and moorland.

Distribution and threats

Few-flowered Spike-rush requires open sites and is often dependent on grazing, cutting or disturbance. This species has declined in many sites, and since the 60s it has been lost from half the extant 10-km squares in lowland England, mostly due to drainage and lack of grazing. In Oxfordshire this species is included is catalogued as scarce, and has only been recorded in five occasions since 2010.