Non-Native to Florida
Download a page (PDF 187 KB) from Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition, by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Pub SP 257. 2008.
For control information, see Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (SP 242) by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker
This species is listed on the Florida Noxious Weed List – Rule 5B-57.007, making it “. . . unlawful to introduce, multiply, possess, move, or release . . . except under permit issued by the department . . . .” See 5B-57.004 for more information.
Date of introduction to Florida: 1916
(from Strangers in Paradise, Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida, Chapter 2: Florida’s Invasion by Nonindigenous Plants: History, Screening, and Regulation, by D.R. Gordon and K.P. Thomas, pp. 21-37. Island Press, Washington, DC, 1997.)
Introduced as an ornamental, this new invasive plant is common in south Florida. It can occur in large stands and may easily be mistaken for the native common reed, Phragmites australis. The easiest way to tell the two is that Neyraudia does not have a ring of hairs encircling the stem just below the inflorescence, whereas Phragmites does.
Appearance: Robust, reed-like perennial to 3 m (10 ft) tall, forming clumps from short, coarse rhizomes. Stems often branched and filled with soft pith.
Leaves: Sheaths 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long, smooth, shining, clasping, woolly at the top with a line of collar hairs and ligule of hairs. Blades linear, flat or involute, 20–100 cm (8–39 in) long and 8–25 mm (0.3–1 in) wide, glabrous below, sparsely short-hairy above, with margins smooth or rough and midvein inconspicuous; blades often deciduous from sheaths.
Flowers: In a large, terminal, hairy, branched panicle; spike-lets with 5–10 florets; florets hairy, with a short awn between two terminal teeth.
Fruit: 1.5–3 mm (0.06–0.12 in) long, narrowly elliptic.
Ecological threat: Able to colonize marginal and undisturbed habitats once established in an area. Well established in the globally rare pine rockland habitats of Dade County and viewed as a threat to rare species there, especially since its high flammability promotes frequent fires, enhancing its spread. FLEPPC Category I
Distribution: SW, SE
Text from Invasive and Non-Native Plants You Should Know, Recognition Cards, by A. Richard and V. Ramey, 2007. UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, Publ. No. SP 431.
View more information and pictures about silk reed, as contained in the Langeland/Burks book, Identification & Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas.
See the UF/IFAS Assessment, which lists plants according to their invasive status in Florida.