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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #60943)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Sparganium natans
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
853 657 990
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
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Sparganium minimum (L.) Fr., nom. illeg.
Sparganium minimum Wallr.
Sparganium natans var. minimum L.
Sparganium nutans