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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

64. Sparganiaceae, the Burreed Family

1.Sparganium L. -- Burreed

Perennial, reedlike marsh plants, colonial from rhizomes, typically emergent in shallow water. Stems simple, terete, stout, usually erect, clothed toward the base by the overlapping leaf bases. Leaves broad, long, linear, weakly sheathing, ascending and mostly overtopping the inflorescence. Flowers unisexual, the male and female flowers densely crowded in separate globose heads, the staminate heads few to many, sessile, borne above the pistillate heads in a simple or sparsely branched inflorescence, the pistillate heads 1-several, sessile or peduncled, axillary or supra-axillary in relation to the foliaceous bracts in the lower portion of the inflorescence; perianth (in both male and female flowers) of few to several chaffy, spatulate scales, these appressed to the achenes in the mature pistillate heads; staminate flowers of mostly 3-5 stamens; pistillate flowers each consisting of a simple or 2-carpellary pistil, stigmas 1 or 2. Fruit a beaked, nutletlike achene, sessile or short-stipitate in the head.

Fernald, M. L.  1922.  Notes on Sparganium.  Rhodora 24:26-34.
Lead Characteristic Go To
1 Stigma 1; achenes fusiform, rounded on the sides; staminate heads usaully 2-5. Lead 2
1 Stigmas 2; achenes obconic to obpyramidal, angled on the sides; staminate heads many. S. eurycarpum
2 Achene body (excluding stipe and beak) 3.5-5 mm long at maturity; achene beak (including stigma) 2-4.2 mm long; leaves mostly 3-5(7) mm wide; bracts usually not dilated at the base. S. chlorocarpum
2 Achene body (excluding stipe and beak) 2-3.5 mm long at maturity; achene beak (including stigma) 2-3 mm long; leaves mostly (5)6-12 mm wide; bracts usually stongly dilated at the base, with broad, scarious margins. S. emersum

64. Sparganiaceae, the Burreed Family
1. Sparganium L. -- Burreed
1. Sparganium chlorocarpum Rydb. -- Greenfruit burreed
2. Sparganium emersum Rehm.
3. Sparganium eurycarpum Engelm. -- Giant burreed

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