Scientific Name: Phragmites australis

Common Name: common reed

Other Common Names: phragmites

Synonyms: Phragmites australis var. berlandieri, Phragmites communis, Phragmites phragmites

Habit: Common reed is a perennial grass that grows from 5 to 15 ft high and forms dense stands.

Leaves: 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.

Identifying Characteristics: 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.

Seed Fruit: Seeds are seldom produced, reproduces by vegetative growth. Has a hairless lemma.

Where Found: 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.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: opposite

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: less than 1 mm

  • Seed head: panicle

  • Width: more than 15 mm

  • Grass stem: round