Phragmites is a stout grass that measures 2-4 m (6.5-13 ft.) in height. It is most often seen in large colonies. The stems and leaves are smooth and glabrous. The gray-green leaves are acuminate in shape, 25-50 cm (10-20 in.) long and 2-3 cm (0.75-1 in.) wide. Long white hairs are present at the leaf-sheath junction. The light brown to purple inflorescence is 20-40 cm (7.5-15 in.) long. The spiklets have 3-7 flowers and appear between July and September. The flowers are surrounded by silky white hairs. The first glume is narrowly elliptic and blunt, while the second is linear and nearly twice as long as the first. The lemmas are narrow, 8-12 mm (0.3-0.5 in.) wide. The rachilla hairs are white and as long as the lemmas. However, they are not visible until after the flowers bloom. The seeds are brown, light weight, and about 8 mm (0.3 in.) long. In the fall the plant turns brown, and the inflorescences persist throughout the winter. Page References Crow & Hellquist 261, Gleason & Cronquist 781, Holmgren 732, Magee & Ahles 153. See reference section below for full citations.