Native vs. non-native?

When managing non-native Phragmites, it is important to first determine if the plants in question are the native or invasive strain. Native Phragmites has been an important part of healthy Great Lakes coastal wetlands for thousands of years. The table below, adapted from “A Guide to the Control and Management of Invasive Phragmites” can help with identification.

For further assistance on identification of native vs. non-native Phragmites see:

This page from the Ontario Phragmites Working Group

Brochures and Documents

  • Phragmites– Native or not?: a pamphlet with pictures to help with identification put together by the  Michigan Natural Features Inventory.
  • Phragmites– Distinguishing the native from the non-native form: a presentation prepared by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory to help identify non-native and native Phragmites by their morphological characteristics and habitats.
  • Phragmites field guide: This document prepared for the Plant Conservation Alliance presents a detailed description of traits that distinguish Phragmites subspecies and provides map of their respective geographical distribution.  The characteristics listed on pg 21 are particularly useful.
  • Native vs. Invasive Phragmites: This blog by the U.S. Geological Survey outlines methods of distinguishing native from non-native Phragmites and provides links to additional resources.


Diagnostic Services

  • Doug Wendell, Ph.D, Oakland University, Rochester, MI: This lab conducts genetic testing to confirm the lineage of Phragmites.
  • Karen Mock, Ph.D, Utah State University, Logan, UT: This lab conducts genetic testing to confirm the lineage of Phragmites.