Common Reed, Phragmites australisThis file is presented by : Invasive Plant Watch Network
You will find this file at : http://www.rspee.glu.org/recherche_espece/fiche_espece.php?recordID=10&lan=en
Perennial, with rhizomes
Height: usually between 150 and 250 cm
Stalk: upright, very sturdy (1 cm in diameter), not ramose, sometimes purple
Leaves: long and flat
Flowers: blooms are flag- or feather-shaped, purple at first, then becoming reddish and almost brown at maturity (12-40 cm in length); blooms August to September
Fruits: white, grey or brown
Wetlands, adjacent to ditches, highways, fields and remolded soil
Natural history :
Common Reed can be found on all continents except for Antarctica. It is known to have existed in North America for more than 3,000 years. Fairly sparse in coverage until the end of the 1950s, the Common Reed has enjoyed remarkable expansion in Southwest Québec over the last thirty years. Disturbances to natural environments through dredging, excavation, development, etc., as well as changes in climate and water level have contributed to the propagation of this plant, which has begun to reach vast monoculture levels. It should be noted however, that a European genotype introduced in recent centuries is at the origin of the invasion.
In Québec, the Common Reed can be found today from the Abitibi to Gaspé regions. In spite of its all-encompassing presence in the province’s Southern landscapes, Common Reed colonies remain infrequent in wetlands. However, whenever the species does take root, it quickly overwhelms available space in 71% of cases. For example, its progress has been astonishing in the Boucherville Islands. Unknown in this area in 1970, this plant now covers nearly 250,000 square metres and shows no sign of slowing down.
The zones invaded by this plant are often dense and impenetrable and the transformed environment is of little value to wetland fauna and flora. Some aquatic animal species such as Muskrat are known to occasionally feed on the rhizomes of this plant.
Propagation of the Common Reed from fragments of its abundant rhizomes favours a process of rapid invasion. Moreover, the Common Reed adapts with ease to periods of flooding and drought and tolerates a wide range of temperatures. As a consequence, this highly resistant, tolerant and aggressive plant ranks among the most difficult to control of invasive plant species.
Eradicating the Common Reed is an immense challenge, and has been the subject of much research. The situation is out of control on the provincial level, but you can help restrain growth locally.
The Common Reed can be easily confused with the following species:
Here are a few suggested plants you can use in ecologically sound plantings:
Follow this link to see photographs of these species.
Bibliography and references :
1. Convention sur la diversité biologique (1992). www.biodiv.org
2. Environnement Canada, Centre Saint-Laurent, Le Phragmite commun, Phragmite australis,
3. Environnement Canada, Centre Saint-Laurent, Invasion du phragmite commun dans les îles de Boucherville, www.qc.ec.gc.ca/CSL/inf/inf013_f.html
4. Fédération Ontarienne des pêcheurs et chasseurs, 2000. Les espèces aquatiques invasives. Un guide pour les amateurs de jardins d’eau et d’aquariums. Partenariat Environnement Canada, Pêche et Océans Canada et le Ministère des Ressources naturelles de l’Ontario.
5. Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec, Phragmite commun,
6. Ministère de l’Agriculture, de l’Alimentation et des Affaires rurales, Ontario, Les mauvaises herbes de l’Ontario : Phragmite commun, www.omarfra.gov.on.ca
7. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS),
Your observations :
There are 232 observations for Common Reed. Add an observation
Observation statistics for Common Reed in the environment Aquatic.
Observation statistics for Common Reed in the environment Terrestrial.
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This species is currently watched by bertrand, filaro and obvstj.