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

Sparganium fluctuans (Engelm. ex Morong) B.L. Rob.
water bur-reed (floating bur-reed)
Sparganiaceae (Bur-reed family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #66807)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Sparganium fluctuans
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Species Information

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Perennial, aquatic herb from long rhizomes; stems usually submerged, 80-150 cm tall.
Alternate, limp, unkeeled, usually floating, linear, ribbon-like, 60-100 cm long, 3-11 mm wide.
Inflorescence branched, of 2 to 4 female heads below and 1 to 6 male heads above, the heads globe-shaped, unstalked, the female heads 1.5-2.3 cm wide, axillary and subtended by conspicuous leaflike bracts; perianth segments 6, spoonlike, often with a dark spot at the tips, attached near the base of the flower stalk; stigma 1; anthers about 0.4-0.8 mm long.
Achenes, 2-5 mm long, unstalked, more or less constricted at the middle, beaked, the beaks 2-3.5 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; rare in BC south of 55 degrees N; circumpolar, E disjunctly to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, MI, WI, MN, ID and WA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Sparganium fluctuans

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)
Slope Gradient (%)
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
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: CWH(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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Sparganium androcladum var. fluctuans Engelm. ex Morong

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References