T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Phragmites australis (Common reed)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Arundinoideae
Tribe: Molinieae[citation needed]
Genus: Phragmites
Species: P. australis
Binominal name: Phragmites australis
Common names: Common reed, Cane grass

Phragmites australis is a perennial grass It is native to Eurasia and Africa. Its legal status is an Unwanted Organism in New Zealand. 
It is now established a very limited number of sites in Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay and Tasman regions. This species was sold through the nursery trade for many years so there may still be plants tucked away in gardens or around ponds or waterways. Phragmites prefers the margins of water bodies, both freshwater and saline, but can also grow away from water.

Phragmites australis grows up to 6 m tall on water margins. It has bamboo-like stems which carry long, wide, flat, glabrous leaves that taper to a point. The leaves are 15-60 cm long, 1-6 cm wide. The silky flower heads are dense, fluffy, grey or purple in colour and 5.9-15-40 cm long. Phragmites australis does not set seed in New Zealand but it reproduces asexually by rhizomes. It can forms dense patches on the edges of waterways.

Phragmites australis is an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and is banned from sale, propagation and spread. Report sightings to MPI’s exotic pest and disease hotline ph 0800 80 99 66.