Common Reed

Phragmites australis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Grasses
  3. Common Reed


The extensive, yellow-brown reedbeds that are formed by stands of Common Reed are a familiar sight of wetlands across the UK. They form important habitats for birds including rare and threatened species such as Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit. Because of their importance for wildlife, reedbeds are classified as a priority habitat in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

How to identify

The golden, tall stems of Common Reed are easy to identify when packed together in a reedbed. Their large, feathery flower spikes can be seen blowing in the breeze from late summer onwards, beginning as dark purple and slowly fading as the spikelets (containing the flowers) grow bristles.

Where to find it


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and development, has resulted in the disappearance of many of the UK's wetlands including important reedbeds. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected and managed for the benefit of the plants and animals they hold. We have a vision of a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Common Reed
Latin name
Phragmites australis
Height: up to 4m
Conservation status