By: SM Haslam
261 pages, 22 col images, 188 b/w, tabs
Common reed (Phragmites australis, formerly P. communis) is a tall grass attaining a height of 8 metres or more, with a large inflorescence. It is the principal, dominant species in European reedswamps and marshes, where the species may live for thousands of years. Phragmites grows in a variety of environmental conditions. It occurs from bog to marsh, to lake edges; from damp ground to depths of up to four metres in brackish and freshwater; from sea level to mountain. It may be tall and dominant; sparse and flaccid in wet woods; in bands along streams; as solitary shoots in fens; as short (10 cm) scratchy shoots, in dry salty trampled places; or as runners along the ground. Quite a variety!
The study of Phragmites has been patchy and serious and long-term research on the plant is still needed. The author is one of the people who, during a long career, has undertaken any such investigations.
In this book the life history of the plant; its pattern and growth; genetic and clonal variations are all discussed; along with the plants physical and economic impact on its environment.
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