Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Feather Heads





This common reed plant (Phragmites) has some varieties that are native to the USA. Back in the 1800's it is believed that the phragmites from Europe came through ballasts in the boats and invaded the United States pushing out the native reed grasses.  Recently this is being questioned.  Peat bog research indicates that it has been here for over 3,000 years.  The non-native version is much more invasive and has squeezed out all types of native plants along coastlines in the mid-Atlantic but the reason for that is still disputed.  While the photo above makes you think it has lots of seeds, it spreads mostly underground by rhizomes. A recent study has found 27 lineages/strains of this plant exist with only 11 being native to North America.  With the rise of water against shorelines, it will interesting to see how rapidly this reed adapts or dies.  Only an expert can tell the different varieties by observation.  When putting up our wood duck boxes we found we had to move a number further out into the marsh since the phragmites had taken over the space providing a tool for predators such as snakes to climb up into the boxes.

9 comments:

Celia said...

Interesting information. I haven't seen any wood duck boxes here but they do breed at Bennington Lake just outside of town. Now I will have to take a closer look at the reeds growing there.

Jenny Woolf said...

I think reeds are very underrated plants. I always love to find them when I am out for a walk. Preferably in large numbers.

Red said...

One wonders where thins will go with all the invasives. with globalization things have a better chance o travelling.

messymimi said...

It sounds a lot like kudzu, another something that will kill off native plants and take over. It would be nice if we could find a way to get rid of these pestiferous plants.

Mage said...

Absolutely fascinating.

Snaggle Tooth said...

We have tons of that here- I live near a large saltmarsh, but there is no foot access to visit inside it.

Hilary said...

Beautiful plant for such an invasive thing. Hopefully your shoreline will cope.

Hilary said...

Beautiful plant for such an invasive thing. Hopefully your shoreline will cope.

ellen abbott said...

there are campaigns to get rid of invasive species. along the Rio Grande in Big Bend, salt cedar has done much the same. imported as a source of feed for cattle which the cattle wouldn't eat. anyway, if ever you see salt cedar, you are allowed to pull it up and destroy it. beautiful picture though of the phragmites.