Common Reed Grass

Phragmites can be easily identified in the winter by its dead, standing stalks.

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Common Name: Common reed grass
Scientific Name: Phragmites australis
Origin: Global


Common reed grass, or phragmites, is a tall, herbaceous perennial ranging in height from 3-15 feet. Leaves and stems are stiff and sharp. Large, feathery plumes of flowers change from purple-brown in July, to tan-grey by late in the season.


Phragmites thrives in wetlands and disturbed and degraded soils, often along roadsides, ditches, or dredged areas. It can tolerate salt water and a pH range of 3.7-9. Both native and nonnative strains of phragmites occur. Generally invasive populations are nonnative, but it may be difficult to tell the two apart.


Plants can sprout from a rhizome fragment and form populations that overtake hundreds of acres and displace critical wetland species.

NYS Threat Ranking Assessment Score = Very High, 92.00


Longterm management is necessary for control of this persistent plant. Cutting and treating stems as well as foliar spraying with systemic herbicides are generally the most effective methods.

Distribution: View Map