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Sparganium erectum1.jpg
Simplestem Bur-reed (Sparganium erectum)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Typhaceae
Genus: Sparganium

Platanaria Gray

Sparganium eurycarpum

Sparganium (Bur-reed) is a genus of flowering plants, described as a genus by Linnaeus in 1753.[2][3] containing It is widespread in wet areas in temperate regions of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.[1] The plants are perennial marsh plants that can grow to 3.5 m (depending on the species), with epicene flowers.[4][5]

It was previously placed alone in the family Sparganiaceae. Sparganium is closely related to the Typhaceae and the APG III system (2009) includes Sparganium in that family. It has been determined from phylogenetic analysis to be the closest living relative of the genus Typha (cat-tail).


Sparganium, commonly known as the bur-reed, is a genus of aquatic plants of shallow marshes, ponds and streams. There are 9 species found in the United States and Canada.[6] The stem, which may be floating or emergent, emerges from a buried rhizome, which like many wetland plants, is dependent upon aerenchyma to transport oxygen to the rooting zone. The leaves are strap-like. The flowers are borne in spherical heads, which bear either male or female flowers.[7] The seeds may accumulate in the soil as dense seed banks, which allow the plants to regenerate during low water periods.[8]

Sparganium is an important component of aquatic and marsh vegetation in temperate to arctic regions. It provides food and cover for wildlife and waterfowl.

The genus name Sparganium was published by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum (1753), with two species recognized: S. erectum, and S. natans.

Perhaps the first mention of Sparganium in the English language was made by William Turner (1562).[9] Turner noted that there was no name for the plants in English, and suggested bede sedge or knop sedge. Further, he noted, "the virtues of Sparganium: The roote is good to be geven wyth wyne agaynste the poyson of serpentes."


  1. Sparganium acaule - eastern North America[13]
  2. Sparganium americanum - eastern North America
  3. Sparganium androcladum - eastern North America
  4. Sparganium angustifolium - Europe, Asia, North America
  5. Sparganium confertum - Yunnan
  6. Sparganium emersum - Europe, Asia, North America
  7. Sparganium × englerianum - Germany
  8. Sparganium erectum - Europe, Asia, North America
  9. Sparganium eurycarpum - Russian Far East, Japan, North America
  10. Sparganium fallax - East Asia, Himalayas, Sumatra, New Guinea
  11. Sparganium fluctuans - Canada, northern USA (New England, NY PA NJ MI WI MN WA)
  12. Sparganium glomeratum - Scandinavia, Baltics, Belarus, Russia, China, Mongolia, Japan, Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin
  13. Sparganium gramineum - Scandinavia, Baltics, Russia, Japan
  14. Sparganium hyperboreum - Alps, Subarctic (Europe, Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland)
  15. Sparganium japonicum - Primorye, Japan, Korea
  16. Sparganium kawakamii - Sakhalin, Kuril Islands
  17. Sparganium limosum - Yunnan
  18. Sparganium × longifolium - northern Russia
  19. Sparganium natans - Europe, Asia, North America
  20. Sparganium × oligocarpon - Siberia
  21. Sparganium probatovae - Kamchatka
  22. Sparganium rothertii - Siberia, Manchuria, Japan
  23. Sparganium × speirocephalum - Finland
  24. Sparganium × splendens - western Russia
  25. Sparganium stoloniferum - temperate Asia
  26. Sparganium subglobosum - East Asia, Himalayas, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand
  27. Sparganium yunnanense - Yunnan


  1. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 971 in Latin
  3. ^ Tropicos, Sparganium L.
  4. ^ Flora of North America Vol. 22, bur-reed, Sparganium Linnaeus
  5. ^ Flora of China, Vol. 23 Page 158 黑三棱属 hei san leng shu Sparganium Linnaeus
  6. ^ Kaul, RB 1997. Sparganiaceae. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 12+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 22.
  7. ^ Sparganium research page, UW-Madison Dept. of Botany
  8. ^ Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  9. ^ Turner, William. 1562. A new herball. republished 1995, GTL Chapman, MN Tweddle, eds. Cambridge U. Press.
  10. ^ Cook and Nicholls (1986) A monographic study of the genus Sparganium. Part 1: Subgenus Xanthosparganium. Botanica Helvetica 96: 213-267
  11. ^ Cook and Nicholls (1987) A monographic study of the genus Sparganium. Part 2: Subgenus Sparganium. Botanica Helvetica 97: 1-44
  12. ^ Biota of North America 2013 county distribution maps
  13. ^ Ito, Y., Nr. Tanaka, C.-K. Kim, R. Kaul, D. C. Albach (2015) Phylogeny of Sparganium (Typhaceae) revisited: Non-monophyletic nature of S. emersum sensu lato and resurrection of S. acaule. Plant Systematics and Evolution 301(9): xxx-xxx.

External links[edit]

Media related to Sparganiaceae at Wikimedia Commons