Reed Canary Grass
A cool-season perennial wetland grass that spreads via a dense rhizome system into clumps or colonies. Stems are erect, hairless, with gradually tapering leaf blades 3½ to 10 inches long and ¼ to ¾ inch in width. Flowering clusters are dense, compact, branched, spike-like, erect to slightly spreading, and 3-16 inches long with branches 2-12 inches long. Leaf blades are flat and are rough on both sides. A large transparent membrane (the ligule) is visible if you pull the blade slightly away from the stem. Seeds are shiny brown.
Similar plants: Our native "ecotype" of reed canary grass is not easily distinguished from the invasive Eurasion ecotype, but it typically does not form dense stands, and it coexists with other native vegetation in high-quality moist prairies. Reed canary grass may also resemble our native bluejoint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis) and non-native orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata).