E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Sparganium natans L.
small bur-reed (small bur-reedl)
Sparganiaceae (Bur-reed family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #60943)

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Distribution of Sparganium natans
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Species Information

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Perennial, aquatic herb from weak rhizomes; stems floating, 20-60 cm tall.
Alternate, limp, unkeeled, flat, floating, linear with sheathing bases, 40-60 cm long, 2-8 mm wide.
Inflorescence simple, of 1 to 3 female heads below and 1 male head above, the heads globe-shaped, the female heads 0.5-1.2 cm wide, axillary, sometimes borne above the leaf axils, usually unstalked or sometimes stalked below; perianth segments 6, attached near the top of the flower stalk; stigma 1; anthers less than 0.8 mm long.
Achenes, 2-4 mm long, barely or not constricted at the middle, beaked, the beaks 0.5-1.5 mm long, curved; seeds 1.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Ponds, lakeshores and slow-moving streams in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout all but NW BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, NY, IN, MN, CO, AZ and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Sparganium natans

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 657 853 990
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 0
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
7 7 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(4), CWH(6), ICH(1), IDF(2), SBS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Sparganium minimum (L.) Fr., nom. illeg.
Sparganium minimum Wallr.
Sparganium natans var. minimum L.
Sparganium nutans

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References