Vascular – Exotic
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
Large reed (commonly 3 m tall) forming dense beds on the edges of water bodies. Bamboo-like with tall canes but these are not woody and die off over winter. Flower heads flarge feathery, somewhat like pampas flowers.
Locally naturalised Hawkes Bay, Tasman, Canterbury, all known sites targeted for eradication.
Still and slow flowing water bodies, wetlands and reported from salt marshes overseas.
Robust summer green grass, growing to 3m or more tall, with stout far-reaching rhizomes. Stalks are leafy, rigid, erect, bamboo-like, with many nodes. Leaves bluish-green, up to 60 cm long and 3 cm wide, often aligning in one direction when older. Flower head is purplish, silky, and almost up to 40 cm long.
Giant reed (Arundo donax) and bamboos. Giant reed is taller with arching stems. Bamboos have stalked leaves rather than leaves that attach directly to the stalk in the case of phragmites.
Not known to fruit in New Zealand
Spreads by rhizomes and stem fragments, possibly by mowers. Also deliberate plantings.
Native range includes every continent except Antarctica, but not native in New Zealand.
Reason for introduction
Ornamental pond and garden plant
Notify Ministry for Primary Industries if found.
Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA).
References and further reading
Champion et al (2012). Freshwater Pests of New Zealand. NIWA publication. http://www.niwa.co.nz/freshwater-and-estuaries/management-tools/identification-guides-and-fact-sheets/freshwater-pest-species.
Chromosome numbers of Phragmites australis (Arundineae: Gramineae) in New Zealand. NZJ Bot 36: 465-469.