Plants and Animals

Eleocharis tricostata Three-ribbed spike rush

Key Characteristics

Perennial spike-rush (20-50 cm) of coastal plain marshes; culms arising from thick rhizomes; spikelets large (20 mm) with dark brown scales; achene dark brown with 3 prominent ridges.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Allegan42016
Kent12015
Newaygo42013
Ottawa11942

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Found in areas with a fluctuating water table such as coastal plain marshes, sandy lake edges, dune swales, seepages, sandy marshes, sandy and peaty edges of wetlands, and intermittent wetlands.

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Colic root, Indian grass, big bluestem, little bluestem, prairie willow, bushy aster, bluejoint grass, twig-rush, cross-leaved milkwort, sedge, switch grass; often associated with other coastal plain disjunct species such as tall beak-rush, Engelmann's spike-rush, flat-topped goldenrod, Maryland meadow beauty, panicled screwstem, short-fruited rush, and tall nut-rush.

Management Recommendations

This species requires conservation of habitat and protection of the hydrology, including maintenance of cyclical drawdown regime and water table. Maintain moist, open habitat. It is also vulnerable to ORV impacts and dredging and filling activities.

Survey Methods

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From fourth week of August to first week of October

References

Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 23: Magnoliaphyta: Commelinidae (in part): Cyperaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. 608pp.
  • Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 910pp.
  • Godfrey, R.K. and Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern United States. Dicotyledons. University of Georgia Press, Athens. 712pp.
  • Gray, A. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany; eighth ed. Van Nostrand Reinghold, New York. 1632pp.
  • Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
  • Voss, E. G. 1972. Michigan Flora. Part I. Gymnosperms and Monocots. Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 488pp.