Invasive Phragmites (European strain) is a tall, aggressively growing grass that can take over large areas of wetland and shoreline, push out native vegetation, and reduce habitat quality for wildlife. In Minnesota, it is a cryptic invasion because native Phragmites is present as well. Researchers at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are mapping the current distribution of Phragmites in Minnesota, determining its capacity for further spread, and developing management protocols for responding to different invasion scenarios. Click here to learn more about Phragmites and its impacts.

Researchers have built a collaborative network to help collect data on Phragmites presence in Minnesota. Tissue samples have been collected and analyzed by partners at the Chicago Botanic Garden to genetically confirm non-native status. Researchers are identifying whether it is sexually reproductive by collecting seeds and conducting seed viability tests. Knowing whether it can spread by seed (sexually) or just clonally is important; once viable seeds start spreading by wind and water, eradication and control is much more difficult and expensive. Researchers are also looking for patterns that indicate climate or temperature sensitivity that may be limiting seed production.

This work has led to the creation of response plans to help AIS managers, agencies, and other entities respond to different Phragmites invasion scenarios. The recommendations vary based on the age and size of the invasion, how it’s reproducing, and where it is located in relation to sensitive ecological resources – for example, responses to an invasion in a large wetland complex, wild rice waters, or a drainage ditch will vary.


about phragmites
Phragmites map
Phragmites management