Botanical name: Sparganium
Botanical name: Sparganium
The bur-reeds are a genus of aquatic plants that can be found in ponds, streams, and marshes. A very old genus, the bur-reeds were first mentioned in 1562. It is wide spread throughout the Northern and Southern hemispheres. There is great variation in the species which may be identified by their fruits. It flowers only occasionally through summer and fall.
Species of Bur-reeds
European bur-reed (*Sparganium emersum*) is a semiaquatic plant often found growing in less than 61 cm of water. European bur-reed is a popular food for marsh wildlife, including many insects, waterfowl, and muskrats, who will often devour the whole plant.
The common bur-reed is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach heights of up to 1.7 meters. It grows rigidly upright and never floods. Unlike the dwarf hedgehog (Sparganium natans), there are no swimming blade forms. The plant has a powerful rhizome that is extensive, creeping, and starchy.
Broadfruit bur-reed (Sparganium eurycarpum) is a perennial wildflower that can grow from 61 to 183 cm tall. It blooms in summer with both male and female flowers. Male flowers are round yellow balls of blossoms while yellow female flowers sit below the male blossoms and have a two-parted shape. Fruit develops in the female flower and has a beak-shaped tip. It is filled with seeds and turns brown as it ripens.
American bur-reed is a perennial found throughout North America. It is a useful plant because it filters out nitrogen and phosphorus from water runoff. It can grow in shallow, slow-moving water. This plant is eaten by muskrats.
The Narrowleaf bur-reed was aptly named for its thin, hair-like strands of leaves that float at the surface of water. It grows prolifically in low-nutrient bodies of freshwater, almost to the point of covering the entire surface. Interestingly, narrowleaf bur-reed produces both male and female flowers, allowing an individual plant to essentially fertilize itself.
Northern bur-reed is a water-loving grass that occurs in shallow water and bogs. It prefers full sun and flowers in late summer. In some states in the USA, northern bur-reed is considered a noxious weed.
The branching bur-reed are a genus of aquatic plants that can be found in ponds, streams, and marshes. A very old genus, the branching bur-reed were first mentioned in 1562. It is wide spread throughout the Northern and Southern hemispheres. There is great variation in the species which may be identified by their fruits. It flowers only occasionally through summer and fall.
This bur-reed has thin, flexible, grasslike leaves which float in the water. Plants that spend more time out of water at the waterline are tougher and have shorter leaves. The plant bears two inflorescences, the staminate type being a rounded white filamentous ball and the pistillate type a sphere of thick, green, pointy peduncles. The fruits are small green or brown achenes.