Sparganium Research Page

Josh Sulman

Sparganium the bur-reeds: a group of grasslike, aquatic plants with spherical heads of flowers and fruits. Found in wetlands and aquatic habitats across the cool regions of the globe. I study the evolutionary relationships of the 14 (or more) species, and their distributions across gradients in the aquatic environment.


A four-gene molecular phylogeny of Sparganium with molecular dating, biogeographic and character evolution analyses, is presented in

Sulman JD, BT Drew, C Drummond, E Hayasaka and KJ Sytsma. 2013. Systematics, biogeography, and character evolution of Sparganium (Typhaceae): Diversification of a widespread, aquatic lineage. American Journal of Botany 100:10



Cover photo: Sparganium fluctuans (Joshua Sulman)


References and Resources:

New research, new insights into the Sparganium phylogeny:

        Y Ito, N Tanaka, C Kim, RB Kaul, DC Albach.  Phylogeny of Sparganium (Typhaceae) revisited: non-monophyletic nature of S. emersum sensu lato and resurrection of S. acaule  


Field Guide to the Sparganium of Wisconsin


Photo galleries of Sparganium and other Wisconsin plants


Wisconsin’s Sparganium distribution & herbarium records


Sparganium in Flora of North America


Sparganium in the Middle East:  specimens from Israel and Syria


In the Works: 


Typhaceae treatment (including Typha and Sparganium) in New Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada – with Galen Smith



Joshua Sulman, M.S.

Department of Botany

University of Wisconsin-Madison



more info:


                                updated March 30, 2016