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a genus of large perennial herbs of the family Gramineae. The plants are 0.5–5 m tall and have long, spreading rhizomes. The linear-lanceolate leaf blades measure as much as 5 cm across. The inflorescence is a dense panicle reaching 50 cm long. The spikelets are three- to seven-flowered and have longhaired awns.

There are five species: two occur in the tropics of Asia and Africa, two are found only in East Asia and Argentina, and one (P. australis—formerly P. communis) is almost cosmopolitan. P. australis is widely distributed in the USSR, except in the arctic regions. It grows along shores (mainly at depths below 1.5 m), in marshes and marshy meadows, amid thickets, and in forests. It also occurs on solonchaks, sands, slopes, and other areas with nearby groundwater; it sometimes grows as a weed in fields. The plant reproduces mainly vegetatively. It usually forms dense covers, which are especially extensive in flooded areas, lowlands, and deltas of southern rivers. Young plants are eaten by cattle and horses long before flowering. P. australis is a valuable food source for muskrat, coypu, elk, and deer. The starch-rich rhizomes may be used as food.

Phragmites are used to obtain reed board, an insulating and building material suitable for roofing, fences, woven products, and coarse papers. The plants are also used as a litter for livestock and as fuel. Plantings are sometimes used to reinforce dunes and for ornamental purposes.


Koromovye rasteniia senokosov ipastbishch SSSR, vol. 1. Edited by I. V. Larin. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
References in periodicals archive ?
The David Elsworth-trained four-year-old was badly hampered on his reappearance at Salisbury four weeks ago and came on a bundle on his latest start when fifth to Norfolk Reed over a mile at Windsor earlier this month.
She was running on strongly at the finish, beaten only half-a-length by Norfolk Reed.
Backed down from 8-1 to 4-1 favourite, Arpeggio looked all over the winner as they reached the furlong pole, but failed to go through with his effort and could only finish third, beaten a length in total by Norfolk Reed and Peacock Ally.
Richard Hannon runs Warwick winner Norfolk Reed and
The William Haggas-trained filly looked ready for the return to this trip of a mile when beaten half a length by Norfolk Reed over seven furlongs at Doncaster 16 days ago.
Mackay looks set to become a prime contender for champion apprentice in 2001, but Lee Newman is booked for that honour this season and took his total for the year to 59 when Norfolk Reed sprang another 25-1 surprise in the seven-furlong handicap.
Norfolk Reed had a terrible run through the field in the claimer, for he was hemmed in close to the rail for a long way and had to meander his way between horses en route to a never-nearer third.
Norfolk Reed found trouble before finishing well to be fifth in the Newbury race.
Norfolk Reed, who was unlucky to come up against San Salvador at Lingfield last week, is worth a second look in the Carrie's Getting Married Handicap (4.
With five of the six televised legs of the Scoop6 negotiated, five nervous Tote Direct punters were variously praying for Night Style, Final Row, Norfolk Reed or, in the case of two hopefuls, Kashra to land the prize.
Whitworth, who was a length clear and going for everything, slid to the ground and got a kick from Norfolk Reed, but after treatment he was able to walk back into the weighing room, complaining to be no worse than shaken.

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