Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta'
Photo by Wiki Commons user Andrey Korzun

reed canary grass


  • This plant has a Plant Risk Evaluator rating of Moderate Potential Risk


Reed canary grass or ribbon grass is native to North America, Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is a wetland species that spreads aggressively and indefinitely by underground runners. It must be grown in a container to keep it in bounds, similar to running bamboo. The Eurasian genotypes are more invasive than the North American genotypes. It is listed as an exotic invasive species to Missouri and the Midwest by the Midwest Invasive Plant Network.

'Picta' has leaves boldly striped with white, pale, and dark green. 'Strawberries and Cream' or 'Feesey; grows only to 1 1/2 to 2 ft. tall with a pink tint to the leaves. 'Dwarf Garters' is also a less invasive selection that grows about half as tall as the species with brighter white striping.

Why is this plant not included on the invasive plant list?

Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta' and cultivars were included in the 2017 nursery survey. Cultivars of Phalaris arundinacea were only found at 3 nurseries (0.8% of nurseries in California). One of each of the culitvars was found: 'Picta', 'Strawberries & Cream', and 'Dwarf Garters'. Because the PRE screen shows that this plant needs further evaluation, and because it was found in so few nurseries, it was not added to the invasive plant list.

More information

For more information about this plant, please see the following resources: