Common Reed

Phragmites australis

Description


Common reed is a cane-like perennial grass that commonly grows from 12 to 16 feet tall, forming dense stands. Stems are round and hollow with flat leaves along its length. Leaves are long (up to 24 inches by 2 inches wide) and gradually taper to a point. The seed head is at the end of the stem and is multi-branched, 8 to 16 inches long. Silky hairs along the flowers axis give a silky appearance. Common reed can propagate from seeds or from it’s creeping rhizomes.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Many species of birds utilize common reed seeds and use the plant’s thick colonies for shelter.