Common Reed (Phragmites australis): Nativity and Determining Lineages Using Genetics and Field Characters in Southeastern Utah (and Parts of Southwestern Colorado)
Kelli Quinn1*, Liz Ballenger2
1Southeast Utah Group National Park Service, Moab, Utah, USA;
2Southeast Utah Group National Park Service, Moab, Utah, USA;
There are three lineages of common reed (Phragmites australis) recognized in North America: native lineage, American common reed (P. australis subsp. americanus); Gulf Coast lineage, subtropical common reed (P. australis subsp. berlandieri); and introduced lineage, European common reed (P. australis subsp. australis). The exotic European lineage is of concern due to its invasiveness and observations of its spread to our area of the Colorado Plateau.
There are morphological traits differentiating these lineages, but field identification can be challenging. Genetic testing is the best way to confirm the correct lineage of common reed. In the late summer/ fall of 2019, we identified common reed stands based on diagnostic field characters. In spring of 2020, we will be collecting common reed tissue samples to send to a lab for genetic testing and confirm our field identification. The primary goals of this project are 1) to better refine and build confidence in the identification of common reed lineages using morphological traits in the field, and 2) gather information on the distribution of nonnative common reed populations in southeastern Utah.