Phragmites australis (Cav.) Steud. Common Reed
Nomencl.Bot. Ed.2,2:324 (1841)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Grazyna Paczkowska, Thursday 2 December 1993

Rhizomatous, tussocky aquatic perennial, grass-like or herb, 1-3 m high. Fl. white-brown, Dec or Jan to Aug. Sand. Wet places.

Distribution

Beard’s Provinces: Northern Province, South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Esperance Plains, Jarrah Forest, Victoria Bonaparte.

IBRA Subregions: Recherche, Southern Jarrah Forest, Victoria Bonaparte P1.

IMCRA Regions: WA South Coast.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Esperance, Wyndham-East Kimberley.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Thursday 21 December 2017

Alternative Names. Ditch reed, giant reed.

General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Perennial, rhizomatous/stoloniferous. Reproduction. Rhizomes, stolons, occasionally seed. Dispersal. Wind, water, road construction and maintenance. Photosynthetic Pathway. C3. Fire response. Resprouts.

Notes. Widely naturalised. Can form very large dense stands in wetlands where it is able to have a significant impact on plant and animal diversity. Long-lived and fast growing with a very vigorous and invasive running rootstock. Capable of reproduction by seeds, but primarily reproduces asexually by rhizomes. Seed viablity and dormancy differs greatly, seed generally has low viablity, but prolific amounts are produced. Disturbance that removes competitors and enriches nutrients strongly promotes spread. Dispersal to new sites is typically by seed. Moderately tolerant of saline water. Allelopathic.

Additional information. Origin. Occurs in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, Australia, however its true origin is unclear. History of use/introduction. Grown commercially, thatching, fodder, cellulose production, erosion control, medicine, edible foods.

Suggested method of management and control. In summer dry areas, slashing over succesive years reduces biomass. Spot spray with glyphosate in late summer/early autumn after flowering or apply as a cut stump treatment. Repeated treatments for several years are often required. Herbicides in combination with burning can be effective. Repeated cutting or breaking of stems below the water level may be effective, however may not kill all stems. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Active Growth Y Y             Y Y Y Y  
Flowering Y Y                   Y  
Fruiting     U U U U U U          
Manual Removal Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  
Herbicide Treatment Y Y Y                 Y  

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

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  • Anon. (2008) Phragmites australis - (Cav.)Trin. ex Steud. Common Reed. URL: http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Phragmites+australis - Accessed January 2010. Plants For A Future Database.
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  • Fredrick, K. (2000) Need and effectiveness of control measures on Phragmites australis in restoration situations. Restoration and Reclamation Review, 6 URL: http://horticulture.cfans.umn.edu/vd/h5015/00papers/fredrick.htm - Accessed December 2007.
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  • Silliman, B.R. & Bertness, M.D. (2004) Shore-line development drives invasion of Phragmites australis and the loss of plant diversity on New England salt marshes. Conservation Biology, 18 (5): 1424-1434.
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  • Uchytil, R.J. (1992) Phragmites australis. In U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (2002, April). Fire Effects Information System. URL: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/ - Accessed December 2007.
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  • Witje, A.H.B.M. & Gallagher, J.L. (1996) Effect of oxygen availablity and salinity on early life history stages of salt marsh plants. I. Different germination strategies of Spartina alternanthera and Phragmites australis (Poaceae). American Journal of Botany, 83 (10): 1337-1342.
  • Zhao, Y.J., Qing, H., Zhao, C.J., Zhou, C.F., Zhang, W.G., Xiao, Y. & An, S.Q. (2010) Phenotypic plasticity of Spartinia alterniflora and Phragmites australis in response to nitrogen addition and intraspecific competition. Hydrobiologia, 637: 143-155.

Project information and acknowledgements