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Common Reed - Phragmites australis
Family: Poaceae

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Description

Common Reed is a large grass species that grows typically around wet areas, often in riparian habitat or wet marshy edges of lakes. While it can stand some terrestrial habitats, its not commonly found far from water.

Leaves tend to have a blueish ting to them and can grow up to 2 feet long and 2 inches in diameter, although they are often found much shorter and thinner.

The stalks of this plant are hollow and can grow up to 10 feet tall. The size of this plant is one of the easier ways to distinguish this plant from other invasive grasses.

The infloresence off the top is composed of many small flowers that create a reddish 'top' to the plant.

Similar Species: The only other grass that can often be confused with this plant is Arundo donax or Giant Reed. Giant Reed also likes wet terrestrial habitats, but has leaves and stalks that are MUCH larger and wider. Its terminal flower infloresence is also much larger. For more information on telling the difference watch the Giant Reed Video.

Interesting facts

There has been a bit of controversy as to whether or not common reed is truely an invasive species. While rhizomes from the plant have been found in Native American peat cores, it seems odd that this plant has been spreading so rapidly AND that native wildlife do not tend to use this plant for food. Today common reed is found all around the world so it is very difficult to asses where the plant may have come from. One common theory today is that the plant actually was native, but it was not until the more aggressive European genotype came to the Americas that we started having a problem.


VIDEO


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Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers

 

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