Scientific Name: Phragmites australis
Family Name: Poaceae

Flower: 7.5 – 15 in. (20 – 40 cm.) long brown to purple plume.

Leaf: 10 – 20 in. (25 – 50 cm.) long, .75 – 1 in. (2 – 3 cm.) wide, green leaves with visible vein strands.

Plant: 6.5 – 13 ft. (2 – 4 m.) tall, stout smooth grass that resembles a stalk of wheat. White hairs grow, where the leaf branches out from the stalk.

Identifying Characteristics: Phragmites' great height and brown to purple flowers differentiate it from other species.

Location: We found Phragmites growing by the side of Rt. 128, near Dedham, Massachusetts.

History and Comments: Pragmites is highly invasive, and often grows in large stands and multiplies by vegetative growth. It can grow in any habitat from wetlands to disturbed ground, but it prefers damp areas. It is especially commonly found growing next to highways, where it catches the highway water runoff. Phragmites has invaded every continent except Antarctica. There is also a species of native phragmites, which is difficult to distinguish from the non-native type. However, this native species is non-invasive. For more information on Phragmites, click

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