General: Bur-reed family (Sparaniaceae).
Sparganium americanum (SPAM)
Sparganium androcladum (SPAN)
Sparganium angustifolium (SPAN2)
Sparganium erectum (SPER)
Sparganium eurycarpum (SPEU)
Sparganium fluctuans (SPFL)
Sparganium glomeratum (SPGL)
Sparganium hyperboreum (SPHY)
Sparganium natans (SPNA)
These bur-reed species are native, herbaceous marsh or pond plants with rootstocks. The leaves are alternate, stiff and erect or limp and floating, linear, and internally septate (The Great Plains Flora Association 1986). The individual flowers are small and occur in separate male (staminate) or female (pistillate) globular clusters on the same plant. (Steyermark 1963).
Distribution: A genus of twenty or more Sparanium species is widely distributed in temperate and colder latitudes of the eastern and western hemispheres, and in eastern North America (Braun 1967). For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Circumboreal, south in North America to Oregon, New Mexico, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
This species grows best on wet ground in rich soil. It prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. Sparanium species is mostly found in muddy or shallow water of swamps and ponds. For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site
Habitat and Ecology
Propagation by Seed: Sparanium seeds should be sown as soon as they are ripe in the greenhouse. This species should be placed in pots standing in two to three centimeters of water. Place the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle
and gradually increase the depth of water with plant growth. Plant Sparanium sp to their permanent positions in the summer.
Large divisions can be planted directly into their permanent positions. While allowing smaller potted divisions to grow in a cold frame until they are well established and ready for summer out-planting to their permanent location..
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Sparganium minimum
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sparganium minimum
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Barcode data: Sparganium natans
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sparganium natans
Public Records: 10
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
In spite of local declines and losses, this species is classed as Least Concern as it is widespread with stable populations and does not face any major threats.
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Please consult the Plants Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.
- Extinct in Luxembourg (Schnittler and Gunther 1999),
- Critically Endangered in Serbia (Stevanovič 1999) and in Czech Republic (Procházka 2001),
- Endangered in Germany, Slovakia, Austria (Schnittler and Gunther 1999) and former Yugoslavia (Stevanovič 1999) and
- Vulnerable in Spain (Moreno 2008), Switzerland, Hungary (Schnittler and Gunther 1999) and Turkey.
Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)
Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”
Seeds of most aquatic plants should be sown as soon as they are ripe. The seeds lose viability quickly if it is allowed to dry out. If immediate sowing is inconvenient, store seeds in moist peat, or substitute in a plastic bag and keep frost-free (Heuser 1997).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Ethnobotanic..The Klamath Indians dug the tubers (possibly Sparganium angustifolium, S. erectum, and/or S. eurycarpum) produced in late autumn from the creeping rootstocks of some of the species of this genus, and use them as food (Steyermark 1963). An infusion of Sparanium erectum can be mixed with other plant leaves and used in the treatment of chills (Moerman 1998). A decoction of Sparganium stoloniferum root was used in the treatment of chest pains and abdominal pain (Yeung 1985).
Sparganium natans is a species of bur-reed known by the common name small bur-reed. It is a water plant native to high elevation lakes and marshes of Canada and the northern United States. It is usually found submersed in shallow, calm water. This bur-reed has thin, flexible, grasslike leaves which float in the water. Plants that spend more time out of water at the waterline are tougher and have shorter leaves. The plant bears two inflorescences, the staminate type being a rounded white filamentous ball and the pistillate type a sphere of thick, green, pointy peduncles. The fruits are small green or brown achenes.
The leaves of Sparganium natans are thinner and more translucent than those of the similar S. hyperboreum, and they lack the yellowish cast of that species. Its distalmost pistillate head is not contiguous with the staminate head, as is sometimes the case in S. hyperboreum, and its beaked fruit also distinguishes it from that species. See the discussion under S. hyperboreum for a description of S. hyperboreum S. natans.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Spelled 'nutans' in Kartesz 1994 checklist; correction to 'natans' made in Sept. 1998 review draft.
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