Also known as:
Common Reed

General description

Erect, tufted, rhizomatous perennial grass < 4 m tall. Stems are rigid and bamboo-like. Leaves are long, wide, flat, < 60 cm long, alternate, rigid and tapering to a point. Flowers are borne in brown/purple, feathery, drooping inflorescences < 50 cm long. Seeds are covered in silky hairs.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell phragmites. As phragmites is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
If you see phragmites anywhere, you must report it to the Ministry of Primary Industries on 0800 80 99 66.

Freshwater and brackish water body margins, coastal areas, wetlands.

Seeds dispersed by wind and water. Vegetative spread from rhizomes and stem fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through deliberate plantings and movement of contaminated soil and machinery.

Forms dense infestations, displacing native vegetation. Clogs waterways and impedes recreational activities.

Site Management

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. The Ministry of Primary Industries will carry out the control of this species.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

giant reed
Arundo donax

Giant reed is taller with arching stems.

Phyllostachys species

Bamboos have stalked leaves rather than leaves that attach directly to the stalk.

RPMP status

National Pest Plant Accord Species
Notifiable Organism
Phragmites - Main species image