You say "frag-MITE-eez," not "FRAG-mites."
But the most important thing to know about phragmites is that it's an invasive, non-native species, not to be confused with native phragmites.
The invasives came to America originally from central and eastern Europe, and they've been marching steadily - if slowly - across the continent from New England.
Now the Community Action Duluth Stream Corps, headed by Brandon Van Tassel, is tasked with getting rid of the plants, which are a perfect topic of conversation this close to Halloween.
After all, what other plant can reach heights of 15', grows in a thick, dense stand that, on the outside, becomes a thicket of mosquitoes but on the inside, is an "ecological dead zone"?
The State of Minnesota has a lot of laws and regulations regarding who is allowed to scamper about the countryside applying herbicides to things, so it's better to leave the actual eradication efforts to the experts. But those experts are anxious for help from citizen-scientists to identify stands of invasive phragmites when and where they can. Here's how you can learn more:
- Minnesota DNR's Non-Native Subspecies of Phragmites
- Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture's non-native phragmites page
- The the National Park Service's Plant Conservation Alliance's web page will give you a whole .pdf file about phragmites
- 1854 Treaty Authority
- Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) has a page on identifying phragmites, a .pdf guide, and there's a page about non-native phragmites management recommendations
- The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) has a fascinating website, where you can learn more about invasive phragmites and even complete a training module to identify it and help local organizations target it for elimination.