Phragmites australis

Botanical Name :Phragmites australis
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Arundinoideae
Tribe: Arundineae
Genus: Phragmites
Species: P. australis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common Name:Reed Grass, Common Reed

Habitat : Phragmites australis is  native to North America. The Eurasian genotype can be distinguished from the North American genotype by its shorter ligules of up to 0.9 millimetres (0.04 in) as opposed to over 1.0 millimetre (0.04 in), shorter glumes of under 3.2 millimetres (0.13 in) against over 3.2 millimetres (0.13 in) (although there is some overlap in this character), and in culm characteristics.

Phragmites australis, the Common reed, is a large perennial grass found in wetlands throughout temperate and tropical regions of the world. Phragmites australis is sometimes regarded as the sole species of the genus Phragmites, though some botanists divide Phragmites australis into three or four species. In particular the South Asian Khagra Reed – Phragmites karka – is often treated as a distinct species

*Phragmites australis subsp. americanus – Recently, the North American genotype has been described as a distinct subspecies, subsp. americanus,  and

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*Phragmites australis subsp. australis – the Eurasian variety is referred to as subsp. australis.

Description:
Common reed, or Phragmites, is a tall, perennial grass that can grow to over 15 feet in height. In North America, both native phragmites (Phragmites australis ssp. americanus Saltonstall, P.M. Peterson & Soreng) and introduced subspecies are found. Introduced Phragmites forms dense stands which include both live stems and standing dead stems from previous year’s growth. Leaves are elongate and typically 1-1.5 inches wide at their widest point. Flowers form bushy panicles in late July and August and are usually purple or golden in color. As seeds mature, the panicles begin to look “fluffy” due to the hairs on the seeds and they take on a grey sheen. Below ground, Phragmites forms a dense network of roots and rhizomes which can go down several feet in depth. The plant spreads horizontally by sending out rhizome runners which can grow 10 or more feet in a single growing season if conditions are optimal.

You may click to see the pictures of  Phragmites australis

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is used in folk remedies for condylomata, indurated breast, mammary carcinomata, and leukemia. Reported to be alexeteric, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, refrigerant, sialogogue, stomachic, and sudorific, the common reed is a folk remedy for abscesses, arthritis, bronchitis, cancer, cholera, cough, diabetes, dropsy, dysuria, fever, flux, gout, hematuria, hemorrhage, hiccup, jaundice, leukemia, lung, nausea, rheumatism, sores, stomach, thirst, and typhoid.           The leaves are used in the treatment of bronchitis and cholera, the ash of the leaves is applied to foul sores. A decoction of the flowers is used in the treatment of cholera and food poisoning. The ashes are styptic. The root is taken internally in the treatment of diarrhea, fevers, vomiting, coughs with thick dark phlegm, lung abscesses, urinary tract infections and food poisoning (especially from sea foods). Externally, it is mixed with gypsum and used to treat halitosis and toothache. The root is harvested in the autumn and juiced or dried for use in decoctions.  The leaves and roots are renowned as a diuretic. Extracts of the rhizome have recently been found to be effective as ayahusca analogue and the dried extract (resin) has psychoactive properties when smoked.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/phau1.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phragmites
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

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