Bur-reeds

Branched Bur-reed Branched Bur-reed Branched Bur-reed Unbranched Bur-reed

What are they?

Perennial, aquatic herbs, related to the bulrushes, though with a very different appearance. Leaves are rich green, long and grass-like and plants often grow in extensive, vegetative stands with few flowers.

Where are they found?

In more or less permanent wetlands, especially along the region's major rivers where they often grow in large colonies with aquatic grasses such as Reed Sweet-grass.

Identification

Hard to identify and easily overlooked as large grasses when not in flower. However, the flower structures are diagnostic and unlikely to be confused with anything else in an aquatic habitat. Details of the size and shape of the flower spike are important in determining species.



Branched Bur-reed      Sparganium erectum

Native. Common throughout the region in wetland areas, especially along rivers, canals and dykes and often forming extensive, dominant stands of tall, rank vegetation. Flowers June to August. Flowers carried in rounded balls on branched spikes, the male flowers in clusters above the females. Female flowers produce spike-like fruiting bodies.

Branched Bur-reed Branched Bur-reed Branched Bur-reed Branched Bur-reed
Flower spike
Male flowers
Female flowers
Seedheads


Unbranched Bur-reed      Sparganium emersum

Native. Locally common but far less so than Branched Bur-reed and more often found growing in permanent water. A much smaller plant than Branched Bur-reed and easily overlooked unless in flower. Flowers June to August. Flowers carried in rounded balls on unbranched spikes, the male flowers in clusters above the females. Female flowers produce spike-like fruiting bodies.

Unbranched Bur-reed Unbranched Bur-reed Unbranched Bur-reed Unbranched Bur-reed
Flower spike
Flower spike
Leaf
Seedheads