Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains
63. Poaceae, the Grass Family
22. Phragmites Trin.
1. Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex. Steud. -- Common reed
Tall, stout reeds 2-4 m tall, extensively colonial from usually deep-seated,
scaly rhizomes, these sometimes acting as stolons and creeping over the substrate
during drawdown; culm hollow, 5-15 mm thick toward the base, the internodes
often purplish. Leaves broad, 1-3 cm wide; sheaths open, mostly
overlapping, the ligule white-hyaline, fibrillose, 1 mm long. Panicle
plumelike, rather densely flowered, purple and turning tawny with age, 15-40
cm long, the branches ascending to curved. Spikelets several-flowered,
10-15 mm long, disarticulating above the glumes, the florets decreasing in size
upward, the rachilla covered with long silky hairs, these exceeding the florets,
exposed after anthesis; glumes 3-nerved (the second rarely 5-nerved),
unequal, the first glume ca. 1/2 the length of the second; lemmas long-acuminate,
glabrous, 3-nerved; palea much shorter than the lemma, membranous, nerved
along the margins. Grain seldom produced, dark brown, ellipsoid, 1.2-1.5
mm long. Jul--Sep. Fresh to saline marshes, shores, streams, ditches and seepage
areas, in wet ground or shallow water; common, often abundant; (Nearly cosmopolitan).
P. communis Trin.
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