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You are here: Home / Aquatic Species / Species Profiles / Common Reed
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Common Reed

Common ReedScientific name: Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. (ITIS)

Common name: Common reed

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Selected Resources

Native To: Native to the U.S., but the more invasive strains originated in Europe (Tulbure et al. 2007)

Date of U.S. Introduction: Invasive European strains probably introduced during the 1800s (Saltonstall 2002)

Means of Introduction: Possibly through ships' ballast (Saltonstall 2002)

Impact: Crowds out native species (Tewksbury et al. 2002)

Current U.S. Distribution:

  • Invasive Species Maps
    USDA. FS. Northern Research Station.
    Maps are organized for 43 invasive plant species into five categories: trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, and grasses. Select the desired species to view the distribution information for northern states.
  • Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) - Common Reed
    University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
    Provides state, county, point and GIS data. Maps can be downloaded and shared.



Selected Resources:


Alaska Exotic Plants Information Clearinghouse (AKEPIC): Species Biography - Common Reed (Feb 17, 2011; PDF | 262 KB)
University of Alaska - Anchorage. Alaska Center for Conservation Science.
See also: Non-Native Plant Species List for additional factsheets (species biographies) and species risk assessment reports of non-native species present in Alaska and also non-native species currently not recorded in Alaska (potential invasives).

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) - Common Reed
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Common Reed
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

New York Invasive Species Information - Common Reed
New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.

Invasive Species Compendium - Phragmites australis
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Phragmites australis (grass)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Federal Government

Fragmented Phragmites: Overview and Identification of Introduced Exotic and Native Forms of Common Reed (Phragmites australis) (Jun 14, 2006; PDF | 1.73 MB)
DOI. National Park Service.
Jil Swearingen (NPS) developed the following presentation on distinguishing the native and non-native subspecies of Phragmites in the eastern U.S. (but not the Gulf Coast), drawing on information primarily from Dr. Kristin Saltonstall, now at the University of Maryland.

Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) - Phragmites australis
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Phragmites australis
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.

PLANTS Database - Common Reed
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

State Government

Common Reed - Invasive Plant Species Fact Sheet (PDF | 115 KB)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Invasive Plant Species Assessment Working Group.

Common Reed: An Invasive Wetland Plant (PDF | 539 KB)
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Water Resources. Lakes and Ponds Program.

Common Reed (May 2011; PDF | 661 KB)
Missouri Department of Conservation.

Have You Seen This Reed? Common Reed (Phragmites australis) (PDF | 225KB)
State of New Hampshire. Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program.

Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania: Common Reed (PDF | 671 KB)
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Class B Noxious Weed: Common Reed
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.

Noxious Weed Fact Sheet: Common Reed (Jan 2016; PDF | 338 KB)
Thurston County Noxious Weed Control (Washington).


Maine Invasive Plants Bulletin: Common Reed
University of Maine. Cooperative Extension.
See also: Maine Invasive Plants & Entire Series for entire series of 22 fact sheets and invasive plants brochure (available in HTML/PDF or for purchase)

Aquatic Invasive Species in the Chesapeake Bay - Phragmites (Sep 2013; PDF | 134 KB)
Maryland Sea Grant.

Phragmites: Native or Not
Michigan State University Extension. Michigan Natural Features Inventory.

Introduced Species Summary Project - Common Reed
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Ohio Perennial & Biennial Weed Guide - Common Reed
Ohio State University. Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Common Reed (PDF | 132 KB)
University of Pennsylvania. Morris Arboretum.

Fact Sheet: Phragmites (PDF | 291 KB)
Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

AQUAPLANT - Common Reed
Texas A&M University. AgriLife Extension Service. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.

Common Reed
Texas State University System. Institute for the Study of Invasive Species.

Invasive Species Fact Sheets - Common Reed
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.


Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative
Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative.

BioBullies - Common Reed (PDF | 1 MB)
Natural Biodiversity (Western Pennsylvania).

Common Reed
Plant Conservation Alliance. Alien Plant Working Group.
Distinguishes between native and nonnative Phragmites.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Phragmites australis. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Saltonstall, K. 2002. Cryptic invasion by a non-native genotype of the common reed, Phragmites australis, into North America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99(4):2445-2449.

Tewksbury, L., R. Casagrande, B. Blossey, P. Hafliger, and M. Schwarzlander. 2002. Potential for biological control of Phragmites australis in North America. Biological Control 23(2):191-212.

Tulbure, M.G., C.A. Johnston, and D.L. Auger. 2007. Rapid invasion of a Great Lakes coastal wetland by non-native Phragmites australis and Typha. Journal of Great Lakes Research 33(sp3):269-279.

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Last Modified: May 21, 2016
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