Phragmites

phrag2[1]Phragmites
aka Common Reed
(Phragmites australis spp. australis)
Life Span: Perennial Growth
Form: Grass
Origin: Native & Europe
Seeds and Stolons

This wetland invader has taken over many wetlands and riparian systems across the state. This perennial grass, spreads with highly viable seeds and plant parts, quickly forming a monoculture in the infested area.

The reason this plant is considered noxious is:
1. Each plant generates thousands of highly viable rhizomes.
2. Plant can regenerate from plant parts
3. Studies have shown Phragmites dominated areas exclude large wading birds; exhibit decreased overall species richness of birds and reduces feeding grounds for birds through increased bank steepness.
4. Phragmites increases land elevation, reducing habitat for important fish species and disrupts trophic transfers within the marsh itself as well as the greater estuary.
5. It is aggressive.

It is readily eaten by cattle and horses when it is immature. Seeds are eaten by waterfowl, and the rhizomes and stems are eaten by muskrats. Redwing blackbirds preferentially nest in common reed. Historical: Pieces of the stems were used to make pen points in early America. Some Native Americans used common reed for thatching, mats, and arrow shafts. Rhizomes were used as emergency food.

Characteristics of introduced common reed include a dense inflorescence, yellow rhizomes that are oval in cross section, persistent leaf sheaths in fall, and rough stems that are tan in color. Native common reed has a sparse inflorescence, white and round rhizomes, leaf sheaths that are easily detached in fall, and smooth culms that are red to chestnut in color. Panicles are plume-like, densely flowered, and tawny to purplish in color. Rhizomes are extensive.

For a more detailed description of Japanese Knotweed and Bohemian Knotweed , check out the Nebraska Weed Control Association Website.