Scientific name: Phragmites australis

Common names: Phragmites, common reed

Description: Both native and non-native varieties of Phragmites exist in North America. In the 19th century, European varieties of Phragmites were introduced to North America and quickly spread throughout the continent. This perennial, hollow stemmed grass can form dense stands reaching up to 15 feet tall. It is most commonly found in wetland habitats and is able to grow in several feet of water. It primarily reproduces through rhizome spread as it is able to form new plants from broken off rhizomes.

Impact: The impacts of Phragmites are due to its ability to create dense monocultures in wetlands. These monocultures crowd out native vegetation and change the underlying hydrology, resulting in impacts on the fish and wildlife that rely upon diverse and productive wetlands. Its capability of reproducing through seed dispersal and broken off rhizomes makes it difficult to control infestations. Furthermore, stands of Phragmites can become a fire hazard when the stems go dormant in fall and winter. If you come across invasive Phragmites, please contact our office at 503-325-4571.


For more information, please visit the Noxious Weed resources at