Species Profile

Tubercled Spike-rush

Scientific Name: Eleocharis tuberculosa
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Nova Scotia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2010
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern


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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Tubercled Spike-rush

Tubercled Spike-rush Photo 1

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Description

Tubercled Spike–rush (Eleocharis tuberculosa) is a perennial species of sedge. It is named for the prominent tubercle that adorns its fruit, distinguishing it from other similar species. The species grows in dense tufts or clumps, with stalks up to 40 cm tall, each with a pair of blade–less basal leaves. The inflorescence is reduced to a single terminal spike of numerous, petal–less flowers containing both a pistil and stamens; each flower is concealed by a single scale. Many fertile stems can be produced from a single clump. (Updated 2017/06/15)

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Distribution and Population

Tubercled Spike–rush is endemic to the Atlantic coastal plain. It is most common in the southern portion of its range, along the coastal plain from Texas to New Jersey. It is rare in the northeast USA, and in Canada is only known from five populations on six lakes in southwestern Nova Scotia. Its range in Canada covers an area of only 873 km². The populations, however, only occupy an area of habitat covering less than 1 km². (Updated 2017/06/15)

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Habitat

In the Canadian portion of its range, Tubercled Spike–rush is restricted to open, peaty or sandy substrates and floating peat mats along lakeshores. It occurs within the shoreline zone that is annually flooded in spring and is frequently flooded during wet years in late summer and autumn, making detection difficult in some years. It is a relatively weak competitor, and requires periodic disturbance from flooding and ice scour to prevent more competitive species from crowding it out of available lakeshore habitat. (Updated 2017/06/15)

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Biology

The species is a perennial, potentially fairly long–lived, although there is no direct evidence on longevity. It produces abundant seed in Nova Scotia, but no tests of seed viability or field observations of reproduction by seed are known. It appears not to reproduce vegetatively beyond expanding the size of its tight clumps, meaning that the clumps function as individuals for the purposes of assessment. It has been observed spreading within a lake via fragmentation and drifting of the peat mats on which it occurs. Waterfowl could be important in longer–distance dispersal. Evidence from other spike–rush species of fluctuating wetlands and other Atlantic Coastal Plain shoreline species suggests longer–term seed banking may be significant to its persistence at a site, but the importance of seed banking vs. vegetative survival during extended periods of high water is not known. (Updated 2017/06/15)

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Threats

The peat substrate that E. tuberculosa depends upon is fragile and sensitive to human activity. ATV use appears to pose some threat to the largest population at Barrington Lake. Shoreline development is ongoing at Barrington Lake and to a lesser extent at Great Pubnico Lake. It likely contributes to increased ATV traffic within shoreline populations of Tubercled Spike–rush, but its direct impacts have been minor and localized to this point relative to the whole Canadian population. Shoreline development is anticipated to remain a relatively small threat through the next 10 years. (Updated 2017/06/15)

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Protection

Federal Protection

More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

Name Amended Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada
Status First posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora Recovery Team

  • Sherman Boates - Chair/Contact - Government of Nova Scotia
    Phone: 902-679-6146  Fax: 902-679-6176  Send Email
  • Samara Eaton - Chair/Contact - Environment Canada
    Phone: 506-364-5060  Fax: 506-364-5062  Send Email

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

11 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Tubercled Spike-rush Eleocharis tuberculosa in Canada (2010)

    Tubercled Spike-rush (Eleocharis tuberculosa) is a perennial species of sedge. It is named for the prominent tubercle that adorns its fruit, distinguishing it from other similar species. The species grows in dense tufts or clumps, with stalks up to 40 cm tall, each with a pair of blade-less basal eaves. The inflorescence is reduced to a single terminal spike of numerous, petal-less flowers containing both a pistil and stamens; each flower is concealed by a single scale. Many fertile stems can be produced from a single clump.

COSEWIC Assessments

  • COSEWIC Assessment Summary and Status Report: Tubercled Spike-rush Eleocharis tuberculosa (2010)

    Assessment Summary – April 2010 Common nameTubercled Spike–rush Scientific nameEleocharis tuberculosa StatusSpecial Concern Reason for designationIn Canada, this sedge is known to exist only along peaty and sandy shorelines at six lakes in southwestern Nova Scotia. The use of all–terrain vehicles along the shores of the two larger lakes, where most of the Canadian population occurs, has degraded portions of the species’ habitat. Cottage development and related impacts (water quality and habitat disturbances) are currently limited threats that have the potential to increase in the future. More intensive surveys of lakeshore habitats indicate that the species is somewhat more abundant than previously documented. OccurrenceNova Scotia Status historyDesignated Threatened in May 2000. Status re–examined and designated Special Concern in April 2010.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Tubercled Spike-rush (2010)

    In Canada, this sedge is known to exist only along peaty and sandy shorelines at six lakes in southwestern Nova Scotia.  The use of all-terrain vehicles along the shores of the two larger lakes, where most of the Canadian population occurs, has degraded portions of the species’ habitat. Cottage development and related impacts (water quality and habitat disturbances) are currently limited threats that have the potential to increase in the future. More intensive surveys of lakeshore habitats indicate that the species is somewhat more abundant than previously documented. 

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2016)

    Section 37 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species and Section 65 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare management plans for special concern species. For the SARA-listed species of Special Concern, their inclusion in this combined recovery strategy and management plan will also serve in lieu of a separate management plan as required under SARA (Sections 65-67). The Province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada Agency led the development of this document. This recovery strategy and management plan was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous other individuals and agencies including environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners.

Management Plans

  • Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2010)

    Section 37 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species and Section 65 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare management plans for special concern species. For the SARA-listed species of Special Concern, their inclusion in this combined recovery strategy and management plan will also serve in lieu of a separate management plan as required under SARA (Sections 65-67). The Province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada Agency led the development of this document. This recovery strategy and management plan was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous other individuals and agencies including environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2011)

    His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, hereby acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of assessments conducted under subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (2012)

    The purpose of the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act is to add 18 species to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (the List), and to reclassify 7 listed species, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of SARA. This amendment is made on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 (2010)

    Under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. During the past year, COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings and reviewed the status of 79 wildlife species (species, subspecies, populations). During the meeting of November 2009, COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of the status of 28 wildlife species. COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of an additional 51 wildlife species (species, subspecies and populations) during their April 2010 meeting. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2009-2010 reporting period include the following: Extirpated: 6 Endangered: 39 Threatened: 16 Special Concern: 17 Data Deficient: 1 This report transmits to the Minister the status of 46 species newly classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, fulfilling COSEWIC’s obligations under SARA Section 24 and 25. A full detailed summary of the assessment for each species and the reason for the designation can be found in Appendix I of the attached report. Since its inception, COSEWIC has assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 Endangered, 151 Threatened, 166 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. In addition, 13 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct. Also, to date, 46 wildlife species have been identified by COSEWIC as Data Deficient and 166 wildlife species were assessed as Not at Risk. This year has been a particularly productive year for COSEWIC’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. In April 2010 COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, providing clear and agreed principles for the gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to carry out COSEWIC functions as required under Section 15(2) of SARA (See Appendix III of the attached report). We are grateful for the rich and enthusiastic contribution made by community elders and experts in helping the ATK Subcommittee prepare the ATK protocols.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – November 2010 (2010)

    As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Please submit your comments by February 4, 2011 for species undergoing normal consultations and by February 4, 2012 for species undergoing extended consultations.

Residence Description

  • Residence Rationale - Tubercled Spike-rush (2007)

    Individual Tubercled Spike-rush plants do not appear to use a dwelling place similar to a nest or den, and therefore do not qualify for having a residence. There would be no additional legal protection not already afforded by protection of the individual and its critical habitat.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update March 31, 2017