common reed

Cyperales > Poaceae > Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.
Synonym(s): phragmites

Common reed 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. Common reed 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. Exotic common reed 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.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

Click on each thumbnail to download the image at 1536x1024 resolution or below for available resolutions.
Use 768x512 for Microsoft PowerPoint and use 1536x1024 for Prints and Publications.

Root(s); Rhizomes
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512

Feature(s); Stem and foliage
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Feature(s); Hairs at Leaf-stem Junction
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512

Root(s); rhizomes
Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Fruit(s);
Ken Chamberlain, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Fruit(s);
Ken Chamberlain, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512

Seed(s); seed head
Joseph McCauley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Plant(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512

Plant(s); beach wetland near Lyme
Jil M. Swearingen, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Infestation; invasion front.
Bernd Blossey, Cornell University, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Flower(s);
Mandy Tu, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Infestation;
John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Diagram or Graphic; USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Diagram or Graphic; Hitchcock, A.S. (rev. A. Chase). 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. USDA Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Diagram or Graphic; Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 1: 232.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - Noxious Weed Law
  • Connecticut - Noxious Weed Law
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Kentucky - EPPC List
  • Massachusetts - Noxious Weed Law
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • South Carolina - Noxious Weed Law
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Vermont - Noxious Weed Law
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Washington - Noxious Weed Law
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England


External Links


footer line
USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia