Lake Champlain Beaches Host Rare Plants

Wright's Spikerush (Eleocharis diandra)
Let's help preserve them! 

The next time you’re walking along a Burlington-area beach, watch your step and keep your eyes peeled- one of the plants that you’re seeing might include a rare Wright’s Spikerush, a tufted member of the sedge family. This species is found at several beaches locally, but known to be growing at less than 20 locations worldwide.

Many of us were not happy with this dry condition this year, but these rare beach plants need dry summers to grow! During wet years, the seeds stay dormant underwater. When the lake level drops during dry seasons, the seeds are exposed to air and are ready to germinate. Wright’s Spikerush seeds can like dormant under lakes for decades.

Walking or biking on the beach can damage these tiny plants, which grow just below the high water line. Walk above or below, on bare sand, to avoid doing damage.

Other rare beach plants that you may spot include the reddish-purple Water Hemp and Awned Flatsedge.

Rare plant habitat 
Beaches that host rare plants like Wright’s Spikerush, include popular spots like Leddy Park and North Beach, and two of our state parks- Niquette Bay and Alburgh Dunes.

What to look for: Wright’s Spikerush like moist, low, grassy areas of beach that are less heavily trafficked.  

For more information about Wright’s Spikerush and other rare plants found in Vermont, contact Vermont Fish and Wildlife department at, or at (802) 828- 1000. 


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