Dienstag, 28. Juni 2011

Plant of the Day (June 28th, 2011) - Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex. Steud. var. australis

This “Plant of the Day” comes from the Poaceae family, so it is a grass again. It's Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex. Steud. var. australis In English, this plant is known as “Common Reed” and in German as “Schilfrohr”.

P. australis - habitus

It's a very large herb; between 1 and 4 Metres (or 3,3 to 13,1 feet) high. It has many creeping stolons and a upright growing stalk. The leaf-sheath has no small cuticle (ligula), but a small tuft of hairs.

P. australis is a panicle grass, that means, its inflorescence is a panicle, which consists of many small long-stalked inflorescences, which are panicles by themself. The floral-axis of this small panicles is covered with many, long, auburn hairs. Each small panicle consists of 3 – 5 (sometimes 8) small flowers. Their lemmas has a long, knelt awn, while the upper glume is lanceolate. The whole inflorescence is very large, with a length of 60 centimetres.

The species P. australis is divided into many subspecies. One of them is Phragmites australis (Rabenh.) Conert var. pseudodonax, which is very similar to Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex. Steud. var. australis, but until 10 Metres (32,8 feet) high.

 P. australis - inflorescence

The exact origin of P. australis still unclear. Today, it is a Cosmopolit, so you can find it all over the world. It's natural habitat are the shores of very slow flowing or quiet waters like Lakes, brooks or old Bayous. It grows to one meter of water deepness, does not tolerate flooding and is also an Indicator of flowing groundwater. The Common Reed prefers muddy, fresh soils without many oxygen but with many nitrogen (eutrophic soils; typical for swamps or quiet waters).

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