Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Coastal BC Plants: Narrow-Leaved Bur-Reed

Narrow-Leaved Bur-Reed

Narrow-Leaved Bur-Reed in Nanton Lake, BC
Narrow-Leaved Bur-Reed (Sparganium angustifolium) is a common aquatic plant in Coastal BC ponds, along shallow lake shorelines, and slow moving streams. The rhizomes are anchored to the bottom and stems and leaves are both submerged and floating on the surface. It creates dense underwater jungles and mats with its long, thin leaves.

At the time we were there, no flowers were visible. Male flowers are on the upper portion of the stem rising out of the water. Female flowers form rough round heads that look like burrs. They are found on the lower portion of the same stem. That arrangement, and growing close to neighbouring plants promotes fertilization.

The burr like fruits and reed shaped leaves give these plants their common name.

Wayne and I saw lots of Bur-Reed on our kayak trip on Nanton Lake near Powell River. It was most prevalent in the back bays and along the shallow shoreline. Because the water level was low, the leaves were very visible floating on the surface. -- Margy

References: Plants of Coastal British Columbia by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon (Lone Pine Publishing, 1994), Wild Berries of the Pacific Northwest by J.E. Underhill (Hancock House Publishers, 1974), and E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia online.

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We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy