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Our photographers have been busy exploring the intricacies of the Missouri outdoors. See if you can guess this month’s natural wonder.

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Caucasian Bluestem

Bothriochloa bladhii
Causasian bluestem and the closely related yellow bluestem are both aggressive, weedy degraders of pasturelands that escape cultivation and endanger native habitats. Learn more about these Old World grasses, and please don’t plant them!

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Photo of common reed plants in large colony

Common Reed

Phragmites australis australis
Common reed is both native and exotic, but it’s the exotic subspecies that has become an invasive problem. Taking over wetlands with its dense stands, it changes the plant and animal communities and even the way the water flows.

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Photo of common reed plants in large colony

Common Reed (Colony)

Common reed is both native and exotic, but it’s the exotic subspecies that has become an invasive problem. Taking over wetlands with its dense stands, it changes the plant and animal communities and even the way the water flows.

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Photo of common reed showing purplish flowers

Common Reed (Flowers)

Common reed blooms in midsummer and has tawny, purplish flowers with long, silky hairs. The flowers occur in a large, plumelike panicle 6 to 20 inches long.

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Photo of common reed, closeup of leaf collar

Common Reed (Leaf Collar)

In common reed, the leaf collar, or ligule, a small outgrowth where the stem and leaf join, is a ring with dense, stiff hairs.

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Photo of common reed, late-season mature plants

Common Reed (Mature Seedheads)

Common reed occurs in disturbed or pristine wetlands, including shores of ponds and lakes, marshes, springs, riverbanks, roadsides, and ditches. It sets seed by late September.

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Photo of Japanese stiltgrass

Japanese Stiltgrass

Japanese stiltgrass is invasive and has spread to nearly every eastern U.S. state. It forms dense patches, displacing and outcompeting native species for nutrients and light. In some cases, stiltgrass has been known to completely replace ground vegetation in three to five years.

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Photo of Japanese stiltgrass

Japanese Stiltgrass

Japanese stiltgrass in an invasive annual grass with thin, pale green, lance-shaped leaves that are 3 inches long. The midvein of the leaf is off-center and has a distinct silvery stripe of reflective hairs. Each plant produces hundreds of small, yellow-to-red seeds that can remain viable for five years.

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Photo of Japanese stiltgrass

Japanese Stiltgrass (Eulalia)

Microstegium vimineum
Japanese stiltgrass is an invasive annual grass with thin, pale green, lance-shaped leaves that are 3 inches long. It has spread to nearly every eastern U.S. state. It forms dense patches, displacing and outcompeting native species for nutrients and light.

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