European common reed is a restricted noxious weed. Importation, sale, and transportation of plants is prohibited.
- European common reed can form dense stands that displace native common reed and other wetland plant species, reduce habitat quality for fish and wildlife, and alter ecosystem functioning and hydrology.
- European common reed is a "cryptic invader" in Minnesota since the native subspecies is widespread throughout the state and the non-native subspecies is easily confused with it.
How to identify European common reed
- European common weed (Phragmites australis subsp. australis) is a perennial grass with large flower heads (inflorescences) reaching heights of up to 20 feet.
- Cane-like stems.
- Dull, hollow, tan and ridged.
- Deep green leaves up to 20 inches long and one half to one and one half inches wide.
- Membrane at junction of leaf sheath and blade (called a "ligule") is less than one millimeter.
- Sheathes tightly adhere to stem and remain attached through winter.
- Dense, feathery seed heads up to 16 inches long.
- Green to purple when in bloom and change to tan-gold over time.
- Grayish in color, covered in fine silky hairs.
- Each flowering stalk produces thousands of seeds.
- Produces rhizomes that can reach lengths of up to 60 feet and depths of six feet and allow for vegetative reproduction.
- Also capable of spreading via stolons.
Reviewed in 2019