Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea)


Common names:

Reed canarygrass, Ribbongrass, Ornamental reed canarygrass, Gardens garters

Scientific Name:

Phalaris arundinacea (syns. Phalaris arundinacea var. picta, Phalaroides arundinacea)


A highly variable species, reed canarygrass is a rhizomatous perennial grass that can reach two to six feet in height. The sturdy, often hollow stems can be up to 1/2 inch in diameter, with some reddish coloration near the top. Leaf blades are flat and hairless, 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch wide. Flowers are borne in panicles on culms high above the leaves. Panicles are generally three to six inches in length.

Life cycle:


Height of mature plants

2 to 6 feet

Flower color:


Bloom time:

June and July


Ribbongrass and reed canarygrass are the same species. Ribbongrass is an ornamental, variegated form of Reed Canarygrass.


It typically occurs in soils that are saturated or nearly saturated for most of the growing season. Established stands can tolerate extended periods of inundation. It grows in roadside ditches, river dikes, shallow marshes, wetlands and meadows.


It is a major threat to natural wetlands. It out competes most native species as it forms large, single-species stands, outcompeting other species. Dense stands have little wildlife habitat value. Its invasion can cause siltation in irrigation ditches.

Noxious Weed Listing:


Far off land


Oregon Noxious Weed Profile
USDA Plant Fact Sheet
Washington Noxious Weed Profile profile
CABI Invasive Species Compendium
Global Invasive Species Database


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