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Purple Loosestrife growing in the countryside. (Credit: Steven Dewey



  • Common Reed forms extensive, yellow-brown reedbeds in wetlands.

  • These reedbeds are important habitats for birds, including rare and threatened species like Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit.

  • Common Reed grows from creeping rhizomes (underground stems) and flowers from August to October.

  • Common Reed has tall, hollow, golden stems. It has large, feathery, flower spikes that appear dark purple, but slowly fade to brown as the spikelets (containing the flowers) grow bristles.

  • Common reed can grow up to 4 metres long!


Over time, reedbeds of Common Reed will naturally be encroached by scrub and succeed to woodland if they are left alone. However, for many years they have been cut and managed to produce reeds for thatching buildings. Continuing this form of management keeps the habitat intact, providing a home for specialist wildlife.