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Common Reed (Phragmites australis)


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This is Britain's tallest grass. Tough stiff stems persist through the winter and are used for thatching. They are usually harvested between Christmas and April before new shoots appear. The common reed is also very robust and adaptable. It usually grows in moist places and rivers but stunted specimens have been found high up on mountains. Its extensive root system makes it difficult to remove. The large feather plant heads are upright at first but droop as the seeds ripen. Each floret has a dense fringe of silky white hairs helping it to catch the wind. Here the purplish spikelets have turned white as the seeds are dispersing. Picture taken mid February - Bromham, Bedfordshire.

18th Feb 2006 by Diane Earl

Biology, Science

Key Stages:
Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

plant marsh seed nature reed

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