Nature conservation

Threatened species

Square-stemmed Spike-rush - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Eleocharis tetraquetra
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 09 Jul 1999
Profile last updated: 21 Jan 2019


A tufted perennial plant distinguished by its slender four-angled stem and broad spikelet on top of the stem. Stems grow 30 to 100 cm tall and are 1 – 1.5 mm in diameter. The leaves are at the base of the stem and are not very conspicuous, being reduced to tubular sheaths. The spikelet is 10 – 20 mm long and 3.5 – 5mm in diameter. The seeds are contained within the spikelet and are a shining yellow or brown colour, approximately 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide.


Thought to be extinct in NSW until it was rediscovered in 1997 at Boambee near Coffs Harbour. It has since been found in other north coast localities near Grafton and Murwillumbah. The species also occurs in south-east Queensland.

Habitat and ecology

  • Found in damp locations on stream edges and in and on the margins of freshwater swamps.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None