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Distinguishing Invaders from Native Plants

Easy-to-Use Checklist Speeds Field ID of Invasive Reeds

Invasive common reed (Phragmites australis) is one of Canada’s worst weeds. Unfortunately, the plant is very similar to a native reed that is a valued component of local ecosystems. That makes identification and effective control a challenge.

Now a team of researchers has developed an easy-to-use tool that makes it possible to distinguish specimens of common reed reliably in the field, without time-consuming and costly genetic testing.

An article in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management describes their work to compare nearly two dozen physical traits that might differentiate native reeds from reeds that are introduced. Examples include stem color, the presence or absence of round-stem fungal spots, the presence or absence of dark red pigmentation on lower internodes, and the retention of leaf sheaths on dead stems.

Based on the data collected, the team built a five-part checklist to support rapid and reliable identification in the field. As a result, land managers can make informed decisions and target their resources more effectively – controlling invasive reeds while protecting desirable, native plants.

Want to know more? Visit the article “Morphological traits for rapid and simple separation of native and introduced Phragmites australis” – available HERE