Common reed

(Phragmites australis)

  • 6 - 20' tall
  • Blooms July to October
  • Flowers feathery, drooping, purplish or bronze and fade to tan
  • Leaves 10 - 20" long and 1/2 - 2" wide, blue-green; blades flat, smooth
  • Leaf-sheaths attach strongly to the stem, even after the plant is dried/dead
  • Stems hollow, 6 - 12' long, may have ridges, up to 200/yd2
  • Senescence may not occur until October or later
  • Native sub-species of Phragmites also exists in Colorado; be sure you have an exotic population before destroying

Phragmites Native vs. Exotic Identification Couplet (Western Slope Phragmites Study Group)

Known Distribution

There are few occurrences of this species documented in Colorado. View the known North American Distribution Map. If you are aware of infestations that are not represented, please report your sighting. Register for an EDDMapS account, then select "Report Sightings". Please include photos with your submissions.