This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Bur-reed Family. Marsh or pond plants with creeping rootstocks and fibrous roots, erect or floating simple or branched stems, and linear alternate leaves, sheathing at the base. Flowers monoecious, densely crowded in globose heads at the upper part of the stem and branches, the staminate heads uppermost, sessile or peduncled. Spathes linear, immediately beneath or at a distance below the head. Perianth of a few irregular chaffy scales. Stamens commonly 5, their filaments distinct; anthers oblong or cuneate. Ovary sessile, mostly 1-celled. Ovules anatropous. Fruit mostly 1-celled, nutlike. Embryo nearly straight in copious endosperm.
The family comprises only the following genus.