Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc.


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Common Reed Grass

Common Reed Grass

Common reed

(Phragmites australis subsp. australis)

General description:

Perennial wetland grass that grows 3-20’ tall with dull, very slightly ridged, stiff, and hollow stems. Create dense clones where canes remain visible in winter.

Ecological threat:

  • Invades moist habitats including lake shores, river banks and roadways. Is common in disturbed areas and can tolerate brackish waters, dry conditions and alkaline to acidic conditions.
  • Can quickly become established with extensive rhizomes taking over underground. These rhizomes store energy so the plant can recover from cutting, burning or grazing.
  • Common reed alters hydrology and wildlife habitat, increases fire potential, and shades native species.
  • It can spread through root fragmentation, long runners above ground, and sometimes windblown seeds or cut stem fragments.
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