Phragmites australis

Common reed

Native to Florida

Species Overview

Common reed is another very large grass plant, native to Florida. It is occasionally found growing in rivers, lake margins, fresh or brackish marshes, and wet, disturbed sites from the central and southern peninsula to the panhandle of Florida (Wunderlin, 2003). Phragmites australis blooms in the fall and is used by people and wildlife in many ways. Phragmites easily might be confused with the non-native invasive, Neyraudia.

common reedView the herbarium specimen image of the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.


EDIS Publication: Phragmites in Florida by W. A. Overholt, R. Diaz, M. Hanson and D. Williams (2011)

Species Characteristics

Common reed is a very large grass. rhizomes thick; stems stiff, erect, to 16 ft. tall; leaf blades alternate along top half of stem, flat, strap-like, smooth, tapering to long tip, to 2 ft. long, to more than 1 in. wide; sheaths smooth; ligule evident, thin; inflorescence conspicuous, large, silvery tan, plume-like, 1 to 2 ½ ft. long, silky, on stem tip, often draping to one side, many ascending branches, ring of hairs at base; flowers to ½ in. long, stalks hairy.

The taxonomy of Phragmites australis is being actively investigated and questions as to its nativity in the U.S. are being pursued. See “Notes on Phragmites australis (Poaceae: Arundinoidea) in North America.” 2007. K. Saltonstall and D. Hauber. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 1: 385-388. 2007.