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Life in Freshwater

Bur-Reed (Sparganium spp)

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Branched Bur-Reeds (Sparganium erectum)Branched Bur-Reeds (Sparganium erectum)

The Bur-reeds have long straight leaves, typical of species such as reed-mace. The above species grows tall, up to 1.5 metres and has a keeled leaf. The lower parts of the plant are immersed in water and the flower head appears above. This flower spike is branched (hence the name). The male part is above the female and they are round although being altogether inconspicuous. The fruits which develop are large, round and spiky. There are several European species and one, Floating Bur-reed (S. Angustifolium), has its ribbon-like leaves trailing in flowing water, along the surface.

The Branched Bur-reed is a common and widespread European species. The greatest range of species is to be found in Scandinavia. It has the widest tolerance of habitat range and can be found in most aquatic environments where the flow is not to great. Ponds and sluggish rivers.

ECOLOGY: The plant over winters (perennates) with a rhizome within the sediment at the base of the pond. Develops in early summer and the fruit are present during August. Wind pollinated.

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