Native vs. Invasive

When attempting to manage and control invasive Phragmites, it is important to first determine if the plants you are managing are the native or invasive strain of Phragmites. Native Phragmites is an important component of a healthy wetland ecosystem. It grows in marshes and unlike the invasive strain, does not typically develop into dense monocultures or degrade habitat quality. There are certain morphological differences that do exist between the native and invasive Phragmites, which can help determine what strain you are dealing with.

Stem Density

Native


Low

Invasive


High

Stem Colour at Base (spring/summer)

Native


Red to chestnut

Invasive


Tan

Stem Colour at Base (winter)

Native

Light chestnut to light brown/gray

Invasive

Tan

Stem Texture

Native

Smooth and shiny

Invasive

Rough and dull

Leaf Colour

Native

Yellow-green

Invasive

Blue-green

Leaf Sheaths

Native

Fall off in fall, easily removed

Invasive

Remain attached, difficult to remove

Ligule Width

Native


> 1 mm (1.0 to 1.7 mm)

Invasive


< 1 mm (0.4 to 0.9 mm)