Common Reed: Phragmites australis
|Weed Description: An aquatic
perennial grass from rhizomes that can form dense colonies along marshes, swamps, streams,
Leaves: May reach as much as 1 1/2 feet in length, usually about 1/2 inches wide. Leaf blades are without hairs (glabrous) but leaf margins may have short stiff hairs and are rough to the touch. Auricles are absent. The ligule is a fringe of hairs. Long (1/4 inch), white hairs also occur at the junction between the leaf blade and the sheath.
|Stems: Leaf sheaths may reach
as much as 10 feet in height and are terminated by a large tan to brown panicle seedhead.
Roots: Rhizomes and a fibrous root system.
|Flowers: Seedheads are tan to
brown panicles that may reach 1 foot in length. Panicles take on a grayish or
silvery cast after maturity due to the long white hairs on each spikelet.
Identifying Characteristics: The aquatic growth habit, rhizomes, and leaves with long white hairs at the leaf-sheath junction are all characteristics that help in the identification of common reed. Giant reed (Arundo donax) grows in similar environments, but has a larger, lighter-colored seedhead.