Information on Branched Bur-reed

Common Name: Branched Bur-reed
Scientific Name: Sparganium erectum
Irish Name: Rísheisc
Family Group: Sparganiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Branched Bur-reed could sometimes be confused with:

Bur-reed, Unbranched,

Growing in slow-moving fresh water, this erect, robust plant flowers from July to early September.  The stiff, upright stems are branched in the upper parts and can grow to 1 metre in height.  The bright-green leaves are keeled and strap-shaped.  The spherical flower-heads are in terminal panicles, the lower, green flowers being female and the upper, yellowish with black tips, being male.  The fruits are in spherical heads.  This is a native plant and belongs to the family Sparganiaceae.

I first identified this plant in Lough Derg, Co Tipperary in 1981 and photographed it at Saltmills, Co Wexford in 2009.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Bur-reed, Branched
Bur-reed, Branched

This plant does not tolerate rapidly moving water as it can be very easily uprooted.  It spreads by growth from its rhizomes and seldom grows from seed.  Seeds, however, can be dispersed by water-birds and boats and if they do happen to germinate, they do so under water producing submerged leaves.