Sparganiaceae (Bur-Reed) Family
Plant is an upright aquatic perennial with a rhizome from which new growth emerges; zig-zag stalk. Preferred habitat is marshes, stream banks, backwater sloughs and margin of lakes. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are linear; smooth; no teeth or lobes; unstalked; opposite; keeled beneath; flat; soft texture and partly submerged.
Flower sepals and petals are a spiny ball of chaffy scales. Female flowers have one stigma; male flowers have five. Female flowers are in heads while male flowers are on the stem below. Male flowers wither and die after pollen has fallen. Flowering occurs in the spring.
Burr-Reed is an important group of emergent plants that are partly in and partly out of the water depending on rise and fall of the stream or pond. It frequently forms dense stands along the edge of a shallow lake or pond. Seeds are eaten by waterfowl and marsh birds. Muskrats feed on the entire plant -- an important food source for wildlife.