Scientific Name: Phalaris arundinacea

Common Name: reed canarygrass

Synonyms: Phalaris arundinacea var. picta, Phalaroides arundinacea, Phalaroides arundinacea var. picta

Leaves: The numerous broad, moderately harsh, erect leaves are dominantly basal. The coarse, erect stems may reach a height of 6 to 8 feet. Seed is borne in an open panicle which ripens from the top down and shatters readily as it matures. The seed has a short storage life, up to 5 years, and should be checked for germination within 6 months of its use.

Identifying Characteristics: Reed canarygrass has excellent frost tolerance and is well suited to wet soils that are poorly drained or subject to flooding. It also has good drought tolerance. Growth begins in early spring and continues through the growing season. Regrowth following mowing or grazing is rapid on fertile sites. Forage quality is good prior to heading but then declines rapidly.

Where Found: reed canarygrass, is a vigorous, productive, long-lived, perennial, sodforming grass. It is a widespread species native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Reed canarygrass is distributed throughout the west, north, and northeastern United States.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: more than 3 mm; 2-3 mm

  • Seed head: panicle

  • Width: 6 to 15 mm; more than 15 mm