BugwoodWiki Article

reed canarygrass
Phalaris arundinacea L.


Phalaris arundinacea is a cool-season perennial grass that grows to 6 ft. (1.7 m) tall. Reed canarygrass is variable in morphology, so characteristics may depend upon the habitat.
Leaf blades are flat, 1-4 ft. (0.3-1.2 m) long, up to 0.75 in. (1.9 cm) wide, glabrous and taper gradually. The ligule is membranous (transparent) and long.
The spreading flower/seed heads arise from hairless stems and can be green, purple, or brown in color and usually 3-6 in. (7.6-15.2 cm) in length. Flowering occurs from May to July.
The inflorescence color changes from green to purplish to tan as the seeds mature. There are both sterile and fertile lemmas.
Ecological Threat
Phalaris arundinacea can quickly dominate wetlands, ditches, prairie potholes, and other sites with moist soil. It can exclude all other vegetation and is extremely difficult to eradicate once established. Nativity of this plant is debated; it is native to Europe and possibly parts of Asia, but it may also be native to the northwestern United States. Aggressive behavior that is exhibited in many parts of the central and western United States may be a result of escaped cultivars that were bred for vigor and quick growth.


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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 www.eddmaps.org

EDDMapS Distribution

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

State Invasives List

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Phalaris

Other System Links

Plants: PHAR3
Bayer: TYPAR
GRIN: 27512
ITIS: 41335
NPDN Host: 22010

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
reed canary grass

Related Scientific Names:

Phalaroides arundinacea L.(Synonym)


Category: Aquatic
Category: Grass or Grasslike