Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.

Common Reed

Nomencl. Bot., edn 2, 2: 324 (1841) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Semi-aquatic perennial with stout, fleshy rhizomes. Culms leafy, erect, to 3 m high, sometimes rooting from lower nodes, upper nodes glabrous, but often concealed; leaves glabrous; sheath often remaining on culms after blades have fallen; blade flat or loosely inrolled, to 80 cm long and 4 cm long, finely scabrous along margins, otherwise smooth; ligule a dense row of silky hairs to c. 1 mm long with scattered longer hairs. Inflorescence a dense ovoid panicle, sometimes interrupted, 10–40 cm long. Spikelets 3–8-flowered, 10–18 mm long; glumes subopposite, subequal, 4–7 mm long; florets narrow-acuminate, of decreasing length from the lowest (sterile) floret to the upper one; lemma pale and membranous at maturity; callus of bisexual florets with a tuft of fine silky hairs about as long as the lemma; palea 3–4 mm long Flowers mainly Nov.–May.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuF, MuM, MSB, NIS, OtP, OtR, RobP, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. All states. Most countries (but not in New Zealand or Polynesia). Common, fringing lowland watercourses, swamps and poorly drained land, tolerating moderate levels of salinity.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1994). Poaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2015-02-09
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Poaceae
genus Phragmites
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Phragmites australis in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Phragmites australis in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Scroll Belt present native
Robinvale Plains present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory