Sparganium americanum American bur-reed Sparganiaceae SPAM; R, wp;

Sparganium americanum.Frank Bramley.New England Wild Flower

Sparganium americanum.Frank Bramley.New England Wild Flower (Accessed 4/2014).

Sparganium americanum is an emergent aquatic, perennial monocotyledon herb, stout, 30 cm to 1 m tall. 

Leaves to 1 m long, 0.4-1.2 cm wide, thin, flat, thin, soft, translucent, ascending to floating, midrib occasionally with weak keel. 

Flowers green, pistillate (female) flowers with 1 stigma, in stalkless, ball-shaped, spiky inflorescence, 2 cm wide, at base of zigzag stem; male (staminate) heads smaller, above pistillate heads; inflorescence with upper staminate heads above pistillate heads along elongate stalk and with leaf-like bracts below each flowering stem, bracts often dilated at base. 

Fruit dry, hard, seed-like (achenes) dull, gray-brown, pointed at both ends, widest near middle 0.3-0.5 cm long. Seeds eaten by water fowl, stems eaten by muskrats (Martin et al. 1951). 

Wetland status: OBL. 

Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Open mud or shallow water.