The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Phragmites australis australis
Phragmites australis australis
(common reed)

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Phragmites australis australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.

Common name: common reed

Synonyms and Other Names: Common reed, common reedgrass, giant reed, phrag, Arundo altissima Benth., Arundo australis Cav., Arundo graeca Link, Arundo isiaca Delile, Arundo maxima Forssk., Arundo occidentalis Sieber ex Schult., Arundo palustris Salisb., Arundo phragmites L., Arundo vulgaris Lam., Cynodon phragmites (L.) Raspail, Oxyanthe phragmites (L.) Nieuwl., Phragmites altissimus (Benth.) Mabille ex Debeaux, Phragmites australis var. berlandieri (E. Fourn.) C.F. Reed, Phragmites australis ssp. maximus (Forssk.) Soó, Phragmites berlandieri E. Fourn., Phragmites capensis Nees, Phragmites caudatus Nees ex Meyen, Phragmites chilensis Steud., 

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Introduced Phragmites australis subsp. australis is a perennial reed that grows from elongated rhizomes or stolons; 1-6 meters tall, forms dense stands which include both live and standing dead stems from previous year’s growth (Clayton et al. 2006, Klein 2011).

Leaves and Stems:

Culms (stems) erect; hollow; reed-like; simple; 150–600 cm long; 5-15 mm thick; hollow internodes (Clayton et al. 2006, Klein 2011). Culms are tan in color; ridged or ribbed; have a rougher texture than the native common reed (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).
Leaves are linear to lanceolate-linear; flat; drooping; leaf-blades deciduous at the ligule; 20–60 cm long; 8–32 mm wide with pointed tips (Clayton et al. 2006, Klein 2011). Leaf blade surface smooth; cauline (Clayton et al. 2006). Leaves are blue green and usually darker than the native lineage (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). Each leaf consists of a blade and a loose sheath separated ciliate ligules that form minute membranous rims fringed with hairs; 0.2-0.6 mm long (Clayton et al. 2006, Klein 2011). Leaf sheaths adhere tightly to culm throughout the growing season; persistent (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). Leaf-blade apex attenuates; filiform (Clayton et al. 2006).

Flower-head and Flowers:

Inflorescence a panicle; bearing juvenile spikelets at emergence (Clayton et al. 2006). Panicles are oblong, purplish when young, straw colored at maturity; 15-50 cm long; 6-20 cm wide (Clayton et al. 2006, Klein 2011). Primary panicle branches divided; bearing spikelets almost to the base Clayton et al. 2006). Spikelets solitary; pedicelled (Clayton et al. 2006). Pedicels are filiform (Clayton et al. 2006). Spikelets comprising 3–11 florets; with diminished florets at the apex (Clayton et al 2006, Klein 2011). Spikelets cuneate; laterally compressed; 10–18 mm long; stalked with 6-10 mm long hairs on the stalks; breaking up at maturity (Clayton et al. 2006). Floret callus elongated; 1–1.25 mm long; bearded; obtuse. Glumes are paired; persistent; shorter than spikelets; gaping (Clayton et al. 2006). Lower glume lanceolate; 3–7 mm long; 0.5–0.6 length of upper glume; membranous; without keels; 3–5 veined. Lower glume apex acute. Upper glume lanceolate; 5–10 mm long; without keels; 3–5 veined (Clayton et al. 2006, Klein 2011). Upper glume apex acute (Clayton et al. 2006). Basal florets are sterile florets are male with palea; persist on panicle (Clayton et al. 2006). Lemma are glabrous; lanceolate; 8–15 mm long; membranous; acuminate; with somewhat in-rolled margins. Lower lemmas are unawned and upper lemmas are awned; Lemma apex acuminate (Clayton et al, 2006, Klein 2011). Palea present; with scaberulous keels (Clayton et al. 2006). Flowers typically occur in August and September and form bushy panicles that are usually purple or golden in color with 2 lodicules, 3 anthers, and a glabrous ovary (Clayton et al. 2006, Klein 2011).

Fruit is a caryopsis with an adherent pericarp (Clayton et al. 2006). Seeds     are 2 to 3 mm long (Klein 2011). As seeds mature, the panicles begin to look “fluffy” due to the hairs in the spikelet on the rachilla, and they take on a grey sheen (Saltonstall 2005).

Other Features:

Below ground, Phragmites australis forms a dense network of roots and rhizomes which can go down up to two meters in depth to reach deep ground water (MA DCR 2002). The plant spreads horizontally by sending out underground rhizomes and over ground runners which can grow 10 or more feet in a single growing season if conditions are optimal (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).

Distinguishing Between Native and Non-native Phragmites australis:

Many morphological characteristics can be used to distinguish native Phragmites australis subsp. americanus from the introduced lineage Phragmites australis subsp. australis. However, there are many overlaps in characteristics making it necessary to look at multiple factors when making a determination based on morphology. The following characteristics should NOT be used to distinguish populations in southern areas (California to the Gulf of Mexico) where the Gulf coast type may be present as it is very similar in appearance to the introduced lineage (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).

Growth Forms:

Introduced Phragmites australis subsp. australis typically forms denser stands than the native Phragmites australis subsp. americanus, the introduced subspecies stands are also more likely to include dead stems from the previous year’s growth (MNFI 2016, Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). Introduced Phragmites is more likely to form monocultures, outcompeting and excluding other plant species. The native Phragmites, is much less robust, typically occurring in low density stands, and is frequently found with other native plants but it can occasionally occur in very dense stands more typical of the introduced form when enriched with nutrients (MNFI 2016, Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).


Leaves of the invasive subspecies are a bluish gray-green, while those of the native lineage are typically a lighter yellow-green (MNFI 2016, Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). This is easiest to see when they grow side-by-side (MNFI 2016).

Leaf Sheaths:

The leaf sheaths of the introduced Phragmites adhere more tightly to the culm and persist as long as it remains standing, whereas those of the native lineage adhere less tightly and peel back eventually dropping off the culm once the leaf dies particularly at the lower nodes exposing the stem below (MNFI 2016, Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).

Culms and Rhizomes:

Culms of the introduced lineage are rigid and have a rougher texture than the native, which is usually smooth and shiny (MNFI 2016). Culms of the native lineage are more likely to be red, typically around the nodes and where the leaf sheaths have been lost. Whereas the culms of the non-native lineage are usually a dull tan color (MNFI 2016). However, non-native Phragmites has stolons that can grow up to 50 feet or more in a season and may be red, also a little red may occasionally be seen on the culms of the introduced lineage but it is usually limited to lower nodes, which may lead to confusion (MNFI 2016, Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). Little black spots are sometimes found on the culms of the native lineage, which are caused by a native fungus that has not yet adapted to the introduced form (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). The culms of the introduced form may have a sooty like mildew but it does not have the distinctive black fungal spots (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). Rhizomes of the native subspecies rarely exceed 15 mm in diameter and are a darker yellow than the introduced lineage (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).


The ligule of the introduced lineage is typically less than 1 mm (0.4-0.9 mm) in length. Ligules of the native are more than 1 mm (1-1.7 mm) (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). The native Phragmites is less sturdy and therefore its ligule is more likely to shred and fray by midsummer (MNFI 2016).


For the introduced lineage, the upper glume ranges in size from 4.5-7.5 mm, with most being <6 mm and the lower glume ranges in size from 2.5-5.0 mm, most being <4 mm; the native subspecies has an upper glume ranges in size from 5.5-11.5 mm, with most being >6 mm and lower glume is ranges in size from 3.5-6.5 mm, with most being >4 mm (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).


Introduced Phragmites is typically found in ditches, disturbed sites, and can tolerate saline habitats. In the Great Lakes basin, it is frequently found on shorelines (MNFI 2016). The native lineage is usually found in fens, sedge meadow, river banks and shores, and the Great Lake shores (MNFI 2016).

Growing Seasons:

Introduced Phragmites begins growing earlier in the season and continues later in the fall than does the native lineage (MNFI 2016).

Size: 2 to 6 meters in height

Native Range: Although the specific ephithet australis suggests it is native to Australia, it is believed that Phragmites australis subspe. australis originated from the Middle East (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). It now has a worldwide distribution and is considered native to Europe.

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Phragmites australis australis are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AZ200820162Agua Fria; Lower Salt
CA195519551Suisun Bay
CO189219014Big Thompson; Lower Gunnison; Middle South Platte-Cherry Creek; North Fork Gunnison
CT187520137Farmington River; Housatonic; Outlet Connecticut River; Quinnipiac; Saugatuck; Shetucket River; Thames
DE186420153Brandywine-Christina; Broadkill-Smyrna; Chincoteague
DC194319891Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan
FL185919292Florida Southeast Coast; Hillsborough
ID193420218C.J. Strike Reservoir; Clearwater; Hangman; Little Wood; Lower Boise; Middle Snake-Succor; Palouse; Upper Salmon
IL2010202238Apple-Plum; Big Muddy; Cache; Cahokia-Joachim; Chicago; Des Plaines; Embarras; Flint-Henderson; Green; Iroquois; Kankakee; Kishwaukee; Little Calumet-Galien; Little Wabash; Lower Fox; Lower Illinois; Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua; Lower Illinois-Senachwine Lake; Lower Ohio; Lower Rock; Lower Sangamon; Mackinaw; Middle Kaskaskia; Pecatonica; Pike-Root; Saline; Salt; Shoal; Skillet; South Fork Sangamon; Spoon; Upper Fox; Upper Illinois; Upper Illinois; Upper Mississippi Region; Upper Sangamon; Vermilion; Vermilion
IN2010201031Blue-Sinking; Driftwood; Eel; Eel; Flatrock-Haw; Highland-Pigeon; Iroquois; Kankakee; Little Calumet-Galien; Lower East Fork White; Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon; Lower Wabash; Lower White; Middle Ohio-Laughery; Middle Wabash-Busseron; Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion; Mississinewa; Muscatatuck; Patoka; Salamonie; Silver-Little Kentucky; St. Joseph; St. Joseph; St. Marys; Sugar; Tippecanoe; Upper East Fork White; Upper Wabash; Upper White; Whitewater; Wildcat
KS189020153Lower Big Blue; Middle Arkansas-Lake McKinney; Middle Kansas
KY201020101Lower Kentucky
MD190420157Chester-Sassafras; Chincoteague; Choptank; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan; Nanticoke; Severn; Tangier
MA189020084Ashuelot River-Connecticut River; Blackstone River; Cape Cod; Charles
MI1979202131Betsie-Platte; Betsy-Chocolay; Black-Presque Isle; Boardman-Charlevoix; Brule; Cheboygan; Clinton; Detroit; Fishdam-Sturgeon; Huron; Kalamazoo; Keweenaw Peninsula; Lake Huron; Lake St. Clair; Lake Superior; Lower Grand; Manistee; Manistique River; Muskegon; Ontonagon; Ottawa-Stony; Pigeon-Wiscoggin; Raisin; Saginaw; Shiawassee; St. Clair; St. Joseph; St. Joseph; Thunder Bay; Tittabawassee; Upper Grand
MN2009202249Baptism-Brule; Beartrap-Nemadji; Big Fork; Bois De Sioux; Buffalo; Buffalo-Whitewater; Cannon; Chippewa; Clearwater-Elk; Cottonwood; Crow; Des Moines Headwaters; Eastern Wild Rice; Elk-Nokasippi; Hawk-Yellow Medicine; La Crosse-Pine; Lake of the Woods; Lake Superior; Le Sueur; Little Fork; Long Prairie; Lower Minnesota; Lower Rainy; Lower St. Croix; Middle Minnesota; Otter Tail; Platte-Spunk; Pomme De Terre; Rainy Headwaters; Red Lake; Red Lakes; Redwood; Root; Roseau; Rum; Rush-Vermillion; Sandhill-Wilson; Sauk; Shell Rock; Snake; South Fork Crow; St. Louis; Twin Cities; Two Rivers; Upper Cedar; Upper Minnesota; Upper St. Croix; Watonwan; Zumbro
MS201220121Mississippi Coastal
NE189120155Calamus; Lewis and Clark Lake; Little Nemaha; Lower Elkhorn; Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff
NV193720189Carson Desert; Fish Lake-Soda Spring Valleys; Granite Springs Valley; Spring-Steptoe Valleys; Thousand-Virgin; Truckee; Upper Carson; Upper Quinn; White
NJ186819847Cohansey-Maurice; Great Egg Harbor; Hackensack-Passaic; Lower Delaware; Mullica-Toms; Raritan; Sandy Hook-Staten Island
NM189720057El Paso-Las Cruces; Mimbres; Rio Hondo; Rio San Jose; Tularosa Valley; Upper Pecos; Upper Pecos-Long Arroyo
NY1864202227Black; Bronx; Buffalo-Eighteenmile; Chaumont-Perch; Chemung; Chenango; Conewango; Grass; Hackensack-Passaic; Hudson-Wappinger; Irondequoit-Ninemile; Lake Erie; Lower Genesee; Lower Hudson; Middle Hudson; Mohawk; Niagara River; Northern Long Island; Oak Orchard-Twelvemile; Oneida; Salmon-Sandy; Sandy Hook-Staten Island; Saugatuck; Seneca; Southern Long Island; Upper Allegheny; Upper Susquehanna
OH2004202219Ashtabula-Chagrin; Auglaize; Black-Rocky; Blanchard; Cedar-Portage; Cuyahoga; Grand; Huron-Vermilion; Lake Erie; Lower Maumee; Mahoning; Mohican; Ottawa-Stony; Sandusky; Tiffin; Tuscarawas; Upper Ohio; Upper Scioto; Walhonding
PA182820123French; Lake Erie; Schuylkill
RI194619931Pawcatuck River
TX1901199917Alamito; Black Hills-Fresno; Bois D'arc-Island; El Paso-Las Cruces; Lake Meredith; Lavaca; Lower Rio Grande; Middle Guadalupe; Palo Duro; Reagan-Sanderson; Rio Grande-Fort Quitman; San Ambrosia-Santa Isabel; San Marcos; Terlingua; Upper Prairie Dog Town Fork Red; West Galveston Bay; West Matagorda Bay
UT1905201911Bear Lake; East Fork Sevier; Hamlin-Snake Valleys; Jordan; Little Bear-Logan; Lower San Juan-Four Corners; Lower Weber; Southern Great Salt Lake Desert; Upper Colorado-Kane Springs; Upper Lake Powell; Utah Lake
VA199420142Lower Potomac; Pokomoke-Western Lower Delmarva
WA1998201713Banks Lake; Duwamish; Hood Canal; Kettle; Lake Washington; Lower Crab; Lower Yakima; Methow; Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula; Upper Columbia-Entiat; Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids; Upper Spokane; Upper Yakima
WI1938202339Bad-Montreal; Baraboo; Beartrap-Nemadji; Black; Buffalo-Whitewater; Castle Rock; Coon-Yellow; Des Plaines; Door-Kewaunee; Flambeau; Grant-Little Maquoketa; La Crosse-Pine; Lake Dubay; Lake Superior; Lake Winnebago; Lower Chippewa; Lower Fox; Lower St. Croix; Lower Wisconsin; Manitowoc-Sheboygan; Menominee; Middle Rock; Milwaukee; Namekagon; Oconto; Pecatonica; Peshtigo; Red Cedar; South Fork Flambeau; St. Louis; Sugar; Trempealeau; Upper Chippewa; Upper Fox; Upper Fox; Upper Rock; Upper St. Croix; Upper Wisconsin; Wolf

Table last updated 5/28/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Habitat:

Phragmites australis subsp. australis is a hardy species that can survive and proliferate in a wide range of environmental conditions, but prefers the wetland-upland interface (Avers et al. 2014). It grows on most soil textures from fine clay to sandy loams and is somewhat tolerant of saline or alkaline conditions (ISSG 2011) and so it is often found at the upper edges of estuaries and on other wetlands (such as grazing marshes) that are occasionally inundated by the sea. It is most often found on disturbed sites with altered hydrology, sedimentation, and nutrient enrichment. The United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA, NRCS) has designated Phragmites australis to be a 'FACW', which is roughly equivalent to a 75% chance of this plant occurring in wetlands (USDA, NRCS 2016). Phragmites can tolerate anoxic conditions, and high salinity in soils, and a wide range of pH from 3.9-8.6 (Fofonoff et al. 2015). Phragmites can also tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but shoots are killed off by severe frost events (Haslam 1972). Below ground, introduced Phragmites forms a dense network of roots and rhizomes that can extend downward over a meter (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). Along rivers and coastal shorelines, fragments of rhizomes transported from distant infested sites can settle in new spots and become rooted (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). Rhizome fragments may also be moved by heavy machinery (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).

Age and Growth:

Introduced Phragmites has an average lifetime of 4.5 years, but may live up to 6 years, when longevity is defined as the lifetime of an individual rhizome, but due to its clonal growth abilities, stands have been known to survive for 1000’s of years (Haslam 1972). Vegetative spread by below-ground rhizomes can result in dense stands that have more than 200 shoots/m2 (Haslam 1972).


Introduced Phragmites australis reproduces primarily clonally through the production and fragmentation of underground rhizomes, but is capable of sexual reproduction through seeds (Fofonoff et al. 2015). Phragmites is wind-pollinated; cross pollination with other plants is probably most common, but self-pollination or agamospermy may occur (Gucker 2008). Flowering starts in late July (Fofonoff et al. 2016). Seeds are primarily dispersed by wind in the fall and winter months (Fofonoff et al. 2015, Haslem 1972). However, they can also be transported on birds, or by water, via waterways or by flooding (Haslam 1972). Seed set is highly variable, with germination rates that are typically low (Haslam 1972), though mature plants may produce as many as 2,000 seeds annually (Avers et al. 2014). Some sources have even reported as many as 1000 seeds per every inflorescence (Haslam 1972). Local propagation is largely to be considered achieved through vegetative reproduction with seeds responsible for new colonization events (Mark et al. 1994). Plants growing in harsh environments may not be able to flower, so the only mode of reproduction is vegetative (Haslam 1972). Germination takes place on exposed moist soils in spring, at temperatures above 10 C (March-April) (Fofonoff et al. 2015). Water depths greater than 5 cm (2 in) generally prevent germination (Marks et al. 1994). After germination a rhizome takes 2-4 years to flower for the first time (Haslam 1971).

Means of Introduction: Initial introduction to the United States was likely via solid ballast and/or packing material from shipping (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). Phragmites has been intentionally introduced to some locations as a filter plant in wastewater treatment lagoons and has been used for erosion control and as a tool to stabilize shorelines (IN DNR).

Status: Established

Impact of Introduction:
Summary of species impacts derived from literature review. Click on an icon to find out more...

EcologicalEconomicHuman HealthOther

Habitat Alteration

Phragmites australis' presence in tidal wetlands decreases plant diversity and impacts animal diversity, specifically for fish populations in creek banks and marshes (Chambers et al. 1999; Warren et al. 2001; Able and Hagan 2003). Phragmites australis displaces native species, including rushes, sedges, and cattails, reducing overall plant diversity (Avers et al. 2014). The extensive growth of P. australis has been associated with a loss of ecosystem services (Chambers et al. 1999). Dense, monotypic stands of P. australis provide poor habitat and food sources (Roman et al. 1984). Due to the excessive spread of P. australis, muskrat dens, which were once plentiful under Typha/Scirpus reed marshes, are now rare (Warren et al. 2001). Habitats containing P. australis tend to exclude marsh-nesting species in habitats that were formerly cattail marsh (Robichaud and Rooney 2017; Kettenring et al. 2012). Additionally, the spread of P. australis has considerably limited suitable nesting habitats for many turtle species, threatening the reproductive success of multiple freshwater turtle species (Bolton 2011). Terrapins can be negatively impacted by the growth of P. australis in open nesting sites (Cook et al. 2018). Marshes comprised of P. australis create optimal mosquito breeding habitat due to the stagnant water (Roman et al. 1984).

Phragmites australis can capture sediment, allowing for a buffer for wetlands from sea-level rise, ultimately preventing marsh subsidence and shielding interior marshes from oil spills and storm events (Rice et al. 2000; Kettenring et al. 2012). Due to their tendency to consume litter and peat, P. australis- dominated sites have contributed to lower surface elevation of marsh systems (Roman et al. 1984).  Phragmites australis stands stabilize soils against erosion (Kiviat 2010). Birds and muskrats use P. australis for nest material and shelter; large biomass of insects have also been recorded in P. australis stands (Kiviat 2010; Krause et al. 1997).


Phragmites australis has replaced over 90% of Typha/Scirpus reed marshes in just 30 years. Riverbanks and creeks become dominated by P. australis monocultures (Warren et al. 2001). The stands have the potential to overrun entire marsh systems and replace submerged vascular plants (Roman et al. 1984; Warren et al 2001). Once introduced, P. australis can quickly overgrow native plant communities, altering lower mixed-statured communities into tall grass monocultures (Lambert et al. 2010). P. australis is considered unappealing in the Chesapeake Bay due to its aggressive spread and detrimental effects on plant/animal diversity and overall ecosystem processes (Kettenring et al. 2012).

Water Quality

Phragmites australis has shown to improve water quality through filtration and the removal of nutrients from agricultural run-off in ditches; it is a short-term nutrient importer (Kettenring et al. 2012; Chambers et al. 1999).

Food Web

Phragmites australis increases sediment entrapment, creating a reduction in trophic transfer between marshes and estuaries (Roman, 1978; Chambers et al. 1999).


Phragmites australis is often converted into pulp for cardboard, paper, synthetic fibers, cellophane, insulation materials, alcohol, fertilizer, and a wood substitute for heat (Tewksbury et al. 2002). It has also been used as building material for rafts, mats, baskets, flutes, arrow shafts, and houses by many tribes. It has also been used for fuel (Granéli 1984; University of Michigan 2016). In Europe, P. australis is grown commercially and used for cellulose production, thatching, and fodder for livestock (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010).


Once P. australis has been established, it can often obstruct views and block streams, ditches, and canals (Tewksbury et al. 2002).

Human Health

Phragmites australis has been used in the medical field to treat diarrhea, gastrointestinal issues,as an analgesic, as an expectorant, as an emetic, and it was made into a poultice to treat boils (University of Michigan 2016).

Property Value

Due to its ability to restrict shoreline view, P. australis can reduce property values (Avers et al. 2010). Stands of P. australis can often obstruct views (Tewksbury et al. 2002).

Remarks: Recent research suggests that at least 3 types of Phragmites australis are present in the United States (Swearingen and Saltonstall 2010). The North American native type of Phragmites australis has been designated as a separate subspecies: Phragmites australis subsp. americanus. A second genetic type designated as the ‘Gulf’ type is native to Mexico and Central America and cryptogenic to the southern U.S., but it is clearly spreading along the southern tier of states. The Gulf type has been designated as Phragmites australis subsp. berlandieri (Saltonstall and Hauber 2007), but this proposed taxonomy remains unaccepted. The European ‘introduced lineage’, which is the focus of this factsheet, may represent a single or multiple subspecies. This introduced lineage is sometimes designated as Phragmites australis subsp. australis, but this is not an officially recognized subspecies name. Other authors refer to the introduced lineage as haplotype M.

Other synonyms: Phragmites communis Trin., Phragmites communis var. berlandieri (E. Fourn.) Fernald, Phragmites communis ssp. berlandieri (E. Fourn.) Á. Löve & D. Löve, Phragmites communis var. flavescens Custer, Phragmites communis var. genuinus Stuck., Phragmites communis var. hispanicus (Nees) K. Richt., Phragmites communis var. isiacus (Delile) Engl., Phragmites communis var. mauritianus (Kunth) Baker, Phragmites communis ssp. maximus (Forssk.) Clayton, Phragmites communis var. variegatus Hitchc. ex L.H. Bailey, Phragmites dioicus Hack. ex Conert, Phragmites dioicus Hack. ex Hicken, Phragmites fissifolius Steud., Phragmites hispanicus Nees, Phragmites isiacus (Delile) Kunth, Phragmites martinicensis Trin. ex Steud., Phragmites mauritianus Kunth, Phragmites maximus (Forssk.) Chiov., Phragmites maximus var. berlandieri (E. Fourn.) Moldenke, Phragmites maximus var. variegatus (Hitchc. ex L.H. Bailey) Moldenke, Phragmites occidentalis Trin. ex Steud., Phragmites phragmites (L.) Speg., Phragmites phragmites (L.) H. Karst., Phragmites vulgaris (Lam.) Crép., Phragmites vulgaris Britton, Sterns & Poggenb., Phragmites vulgaris var. mauritianus (Kunth) T. Durand & Schinz, Phragmites vulgaris ssp. maximus (Forssk.) Chiov., Reimaria diffusa Spreng., Trichoon phragmites (L.) Rendle

References: (click for full references)

Able, K.W., and S.M. Ragan. 2003. Impact of common reed, Phragmites australis, on essential fish habitat: influence on reproduction, embryological development, and larval abundance of mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus). Estuaries 26(1):40-50.

Ailstock, M.S. 2004. Summary of common questions concerning Phragmites control. Available http://www.nap.usace.army.mil/Projects/LCMM/Summary%20of%20Common%20Questions%20Concerning%20Phragmites%20Control.pdf. [Accessed 7 September 2011]

Avers, B., R. Fahlsing, E. Kafcas, J. Schafer, T. Collin, L. Esman, E. Finnell, A. Lounds, R. Terry, J. Hazelman, J. Hudgins, K. Getsinger, and D. Scheun. 2014. A Guide to the Control and Management of Invasive Phragmites. Third Edition. [Booklet] Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Lansing.

Blossey, B. 2007. Development of biological controls for Phragmites australis. Grant C-06-26. NYSDOT.

Blossey, B., M. Schwarzländer, P. Häfliger, R. Casagrande, and L. Tewksbury. 2002. 9 Common Reed. Pages 131-138. in Driesche, F.V., B. Blossey, M. Hoodle, S. Lyon, and R. Reardon (Eds.). Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the Eastern United States. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team. Morgantown, West Virginia. FHTET-2002-04. 413 pp.

Bolton, R. M., and R. J. Brooks. 2010. Impact of the seasonal invasion of Phragmites australis (Common Reed) on turtle reproductive success. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 9(2):238-243.

Brisson, J., E. Paradis, and M. Bellavance. 2008. Evidence of sexual reproduction in the invasive common reed (Phragmites australis subsp. australis; Poaceae) in Eastern Canada: A possible consequence of Global Warming. Rhodora 110 (942): 22-230. Available http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3119/07-15.1. [Accessed 19 May 2016]

Chambers, R.M., L.A. Meyerson, and K. Saltonstall. 1999. Expansion of Phragmites australis into tidal wetlands of North America. Aquatic Botany 64(3-4):261-273.

Chesier, J.C., J.D. Madsen, R.M. Wersal, P.D. Gerard, and M.E. Welch. 2012. Evaluating the Potential for Differential Susceptibility of Common Reed (Phragmites australis) Haplotypes I and M to Aquatic Herbicides. Invasive Plant Science and Management 5: 101-105.

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Author: Sturtevant, R., A. Fusaro, W. Conard, S. Iott, L. Wishahm and J. Van Zeghbroeck

Revision Date: 1/19/2024

Citation Information:
Sturtevant, R., A. Fusaro, W. Conard, S. Iott, L. Wishahm and J. Van Zeghbroeck, 2024, Phragmites australis australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2937, Revision Date: 1/19/2024, Access Date: 5/28/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [5/28/2024].

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