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Kevin Doyle

Erect Burhead (Echinodorus rostratus)

Need a main photo for this plant

Life history

Species overview

Erect Burhead (Echinodorus rostratus), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in shallow water of ponds and swamps. Blooming occurs early July through late August; fruiting occurs early August through late September. The optimal identification period for this species is early August through late September.

Synonyms: Alisma berteroi, Echinodorus berteroi var. lanceolatus, E. rostratus, E. rostratus f. lanceolatus, E. rostratus var. lanceolatus


  • Distinguishing characteristics: In the Echinodorus genus this is the only species found in Wisconsin. Echinodorus may be distinguished from other genera in the Alismataceae family such as Alisma (water plantain) and Sagittaria (arrowhead) by its fruits, which are arranged in globose heads (vs. flat-topped rings) and its achenes, which are conspicously ridged.
  • Flower characteristics: Petals white, broadly ovate, 5 to 10 mm; stamens 9 to 12+; anthers 0.5 to 0.8 mm.
  • Fruit characteristics: Achenes 40+, brown, 3 to 7 mm thick, echinate in profile, each side of the achene with 5 arching ribs, 2 of them wing-like and alternating with the others, the keel entire.
  • Leaf characteristics: Erect with long petioles, basally cordate blade mostly 4 to 20 cm long by 2 to 12 cm wide.


  • Blooming phenology: early July through late August
  • Fruiting phenology: early August through late September
  • Optimum time to identify: early August through late September


  • Growth form: Aquatic forb-emergent
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Annual
  • Comments: Associated Species: Not recorded for Wisconsin specimens.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Erect Burhead (Echinodorus rostratus). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Echinodorus rostratus in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankSH
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in shallow water of ponds and swamps.
  • Soils: Wet, sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Erect Burhead. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Emergent Marsh 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Erect Burhead. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Erect Burhead (Echinodorus rostratus) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Follow BMPs, especially around streams and use care near ravines, steep slopes, cliffs, rock outcrops, etc.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.


Erect Burhead  Photo.

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, January 13, 2016
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