Wednesday, November 11, 2015
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.