Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now

Forage Identification: Reed canarygrass

Department of Plant Sciences

Reed canarygrasss  (Phalaris arundinacea L.)

Cool season perennial is adapted to humid and subhumid temperate areas. Reed canarygrass comes from Europe, Asia and North America. An annual precipitation of 16 or more inches is preferred for this grass. Its winter hardiness is excellent, but it has poor heat tolerance. It does not like high salinity soils, and is best grown in a soils with a pH between 5.8 and 8.2.


Reed canarygrass

Growth Habitat:
This grass is a long-lived, cool-season perennial. Although it is difficult to establish because of slow emergence, once established it is vigorous and invasive. It is very rhizomatous and sod-forming. It can quickly dominate wetlands, ditches, prairie potholes and other moist sites.

Reed canarygrass

Plant Characteristics:
This plant is tall growing, coarse and has hairless stems. It has a dense panicle head and tends to develop reddish seed heads.  Stems grow mostly erect and are round and coarse. Leaf blades are smooth near the base but become rough near the tip. Blade margins are rough and a leaf constriction is often present. Leaves are rolled in the whorl. This grass has compact panicles with clusters of a single flower.  Fibrous root system is extensive and deep.

Reed canarygrass

Seed Characteristics:
The bare seed is shiny gray to an olive brown, but s often covered by a lemma and palea. It is seeded between March 1st and May 1st or August 1st and September 1st. 

Reed canarygrass seed head

Important Identifying Characteristics: 
Two to five feet tall. Wide, heavy veined light green leaves. No auricle.

Reed canarygrass

Primary Uses:
Pasture and hay.

Reed canarygras

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon