common reed
Phragmites australis (Cavanilles) Trinius ex Steudel


Phragmites australis is a tall, perennial grass that can grow to heights of 15 ft. (4.6 m) or more. Broad, pointed leaves arise from thick, vertical stalks.
Leaves are 6-23.6 in. (15-60 cm) long, 0.4-2.4 in. (1-6 cm) wide, flat and glabrous.
The flower heads are dense, fluffy, gray or purple in color and 5.9-15.7 in. (15-40 cm) long. Flowering occurs from July to October.
The seeds are brown, light weight, and about 0.3 in. (8 mm) long. In the fall the plant turns brown, and the inflorescences persist throughout the winter.
Ecological Threat
Phragmites australis is usually found in dense thickets growing in or near shallow water. These thickets displace native wetlands plants, alter hydrology and block sunlight to the aquatic community. It is native to Eurasia and Africa. Native Phragmites do occur in the United States and they are sometimes very difficult to distinguish from the exotics.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

State Regulated List
   No Data for this state
   Troublesome or Common weed in one or more crops

Most Troublesome / Most Common Agricultural Weed List
This map identifies those states that consider this species either most troublesome or most common in at least one commodity. For more information, visit the MTMC project page.

Invasive Listing Sources

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Phragmites
Subject: Phragmites australis (Cavanilles) Trinius ex Steudel

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:

Related Scientific Names:
Phragmites communis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. (Synonym)
Phragmites phragmites (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. (Synonym)


Plants - Grass or Grasslike