Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Phalaris arundinacea
reed canary grass
WTU specimens
Other herbaria

Distribution: Widely distributed throughout Washington; widely distributed throughout North America.

Habitat: Wet places, usually where disturbed, especially along roads, streambanks, and open fields.

Flowers: June-July

Origin: Introduced

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Strongly rhizomatous perennial, the culms hollow, 7-14 dm. tall.


Sheaths open; ligules 4-10 mm. long, obtuse; blades flat, 7-17 mm. broad.


Inflorescence a compact panicle 8-15 cm. long, but the branches somewhat spreading; spikelets 3-flowered, strongly compressed, the uppermost floret perfect, the lower two represented by sterile lemmas; glumes slightly unequal, 4.5-5 mm. long, acute, 3-nerved; sterile lemmas 1-1.5 mm. long, brownish, hairy; fertile lemma 3-4 mm. long, subglabrous, 5-nerved; palea subequal to the lemma, 2-nerved.

Accepted Name:
Phalaris arundinacea L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 55. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Phalaris arundinacea L. var. picta L. [HC]
Phalaroides arundinacea (L.) Rauschert
Phalaroides arundinacea (L.) Rauschert var. picta (L.) Tzvelev
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Phalaris arundinacea in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Phalaris arundinacea checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Phalaris arundinacea atlas page.

CalPhotos: Phalaris arundinacea photos.

USDA Plants: Phalaris arundinacea information.

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