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Invasive Species: Phragmites (Common Reed)

Phragmites (Common Reed)

(Phragmites australis)
*Established in Michigan*


Report this species:

Use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool

- Or - download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone -



  • Warm-season perennial grass with a rigid, hollow stem.
  • Height ranges from 6-13 feet.
  • Leaves are flat, smooth, and green to grayish-green.
  • Flowers grow as dense branched clusters on the end of each stem that are open and feathery at maturity.

Photo courtesy of Leslie .J Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,

phragmites mass
Photo courtesy of Bernd Blossey, Cornell University,

Habitat: Common reed, sometimes called phragmites, is often found in ditches, swales, wetlands and on stream and pond banks.

Native Range: Phragmites australis is native to North America and commonly found around the world. One strain of this species is thought to be exotic or hybrid and is quickly replacing the native strain in many areas.

Local Concern: Phragmites can be difficult to walk through (for humans and wildlife) and often obstructs landowner views because of its ability to grow in tall, dense patches. The exotic strain can reduce native fish and wildlife populations, block out native salt marsh vegetation, and can be a fire danger for nearby residents.


Common Reed (Phragmites) Invasive Species Alert - Printable PDF

A Guide to the Control and Management of Invasive Phragmites – Third Edition This document provides in-depth information about phragmites in Michigan including identification, distribution, management and control options.

For more information about Phragmites management and control, visit EGLE’s Phragmites webpage.