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Life in Freshwater

Common Reed ( Phragmites communis)

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Common Reed and Common Pond weed
The tall plants are the Common Reed whilst on the water floats Common Pond weed. Also coming out of the water is Marestail

The Common Reed grows up to 3 metres, the tallest northern European grass

This grass may form extremely dense reed-banks in marshy and water -logged soils. Widespread in Europe. It can tolerate waterlogging by the presence of air tissue in the plant, taking air down to the roots. The large stands of reedbed may be at the edge of lowland lakes or along the transition region of where a river goes from fresh to salt water. It has the ability to survive low salinities and as such has little competition. Hence the huge stands of reedbed. The grass Spartina replaces the Reed as salinity becomes very higher going into the estuary; a gradual transition occurs as it invades the Spartina beds. Reedbeds give excellent cover to animals including nesting birds. It is traditionally cut for thatching houses.

The Common Reed at the edge of an estuary

To find out more about Spartina, saltmarsh and estuary go to


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