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

Sparganium angustifolium Michx.
narrow-leaved bur-reed (narrowleaf bur-reed)
Sparganiaceae (Bur-reed family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Allan Carson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #17848)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Sparganium angustifolium
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial, aquatic herb from long rhizomes; stems lax, usually floating, 30-40 cm tall.
Alternate, limp, not keeled, usually floating, linear with sheathing bases, 100-120 cm long, 2-6 (8) mm wide.
Inflorescence simple, of 2 to 4 female heads below and 2 to 5 (8) male heads above, the heads globe-shaped, the female heads 1-2 cm wide, at least some borne above the leaf axils and subtended by conspicuous leaflike bracts; perianth segments 6, scalelike, attached near the top of the flower stalk; stigma 1; anthers about 1 mm long, 0.5 mm wide.
Achenes, 3-7 mm long, constricted at the middle, reddish to brownish at base prior to drying, beaked, the beaks 1.5-2.2 mm long, straight or slightly curved, the stalks 1-1.5 mm long; seeds 1.
This is a highly variable species in which different forms are often treated as species (e.g., Hitchcock and Cronquist 1973) or infraspecific taxa (e.g., Brayshaw 1985). Packer (1983b) has shown that there is no justification for recognizing more than a single, variable species, at least until adequate research has shown otherwise.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Ponds, ditches and lakeshores in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, NY, PA, VA, IN, MN, NM, AZ and CA; Greenland, Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Sparganium angustifolium

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) 5 475 1260
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 10
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
95 125 200
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 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: BWBS(1), CDF(4), CWH(3), ICH(2), IDF(3), SBS(2)


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 angustifolium var. multipedunculatum
Sparganium emersum var. angustifolium (Michx.) Roy L. Taylor & MacBryde
Sparganium emersum var. multipedunculatum (Morong) Reveal
Sparganium multipedunculatum (Morong) Rydb.
Sparganium simplex var. multipedunculatum

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References