Scientific NamePhragmites australis
Other Common Names:
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
Phragmites australis var. berlandieri
Common reed is a perennial grass that grows from 5 to 15 ft high and forms dense stands.
The leaves are flat 20 to 60 cm long and 1 to 3 cm wide. The blades are hairless or scarcely hairy below. The ligule has silky hairs that are 1-2 mm long.
Growth is spread over long distances by rhizome fragments carried by soil.
Flower Seed Head
Plume-like seedheads that are purple during younger stages and eventually turns light brown in later stages. The panicle is 15-40 cm long.
Seeds are seldom produced, reproduces by vegetative growth. Has a hairless lemma.
A very large grass that prefers very damp soils, and may even grow in flowing water. Also, it can tolerate salt and alkaline conditions. Roadside ditches and other wet areas throughout the United States and southern Canada. Common reed cannot survive in areas that have frequent and close mowing.
Leaf Hair on Upper Surface
Mature Leaf Width
more than 15 mm
less than 1 mm