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Published In: Nomenclator Botanicus. Editio secunda 1: 143. 1840. (Nomencl. Bot. (ed. 2)) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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1. Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. (common reed)

Pl. 128 c, d; Map 522

P. communis Trin.

P. communis var. berlandieri (E. Fourn.) Fernald

Plants perennial, tall, and reedlike, with stout rhizomes, forming large colonies. Flowering stems 200–400 cm long, stout, unbranched or rarely few‑branched, glabrous, sometimes glaucous. Leaves all on the flowering stems. Leaf sheaths glabrous or sometimes hairy along the margins, the ligules membranous with a hairy margin. Leaf blades 40–60 cm long, 20–40 mm wide, flat, not clasping at the base, roughened along the margin, but otherwise glabrous, the midvein noticeably thickened beneath. Inflorescences large, dense panicles with numerous, ascending branches. Spikelets 10–15 mm long, obovate to obtriangular in outline, somewhat flattened, with 3–7 florets, the lowermost floret staminate or sterile, the rachilla densely long‑hairy between the florets. Lower glume 3–4 mm long, narrowly elliptic, pointed to bluntly pointed at the tip, 3‑nerved, glabrous. Upper glume 6–8 mm long, linear, tapered to a sharply pointed tip, 3‑ or 5‑nerved, glabrous. Lemmas 8–12 mm long, linear, long‑tapered to a sharply pointed tip, 3‑nerved, glabrous. Paleas much shorter than the lemmas. Fruits (seldom produced) 2–3 mm long, oblong in outline, circular or slightly flattened in cross‑section, with a short, stylar beak at the tip. 2n=36, 42, 44, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 54, 56, 84. July–September.

Scattered, mostly in the northern half of the state (nearly worldwide). Marshes, banks of rivers and larger streams, margins of ponds and lakes; ditches, roadsides, railroads, and moist, open, disturbed areas, usually in full sun.

Phragmites australis has perhaps the broadest range of any flowering plant species, occurring naturally on every continent except Antarctica. A number of strains are known, which may or may not correlate with the wide range of chromosome numbers reported. In portions of the southern and midwestern U.S., an aggressive and potentially nonnative strain has spread along highways and sometimes becomes invasive in natural wetland communities. However, at least some populations from northern Missouri contain plants thought to be native to the region. In some parts of the range, stems and leaves are used as building materials, woven mats, and as a source for pulp in making paper. The stems also have been used as shafts for arrows. The fruits and the young stems and leaves are sometimes cooked and eaten or dried and ground into a flour.



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