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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

13 September, 2015

Common Reed: thatching and weaving | Nature Notes from Dorset

Despite being called the common reed (Phragmites australis) this is not a reed at all, it is a species of grass; its wonderful florescence is the sure indicator of this as no reed or rush has anything like it. It may not be a reed but it certainly is common. You can find Phragmites just about anywhere in lowland Britain where there is water! It occurs in fens, swamps, ditches, lakes and on riversides, both in brackish and alkaline waters, even in acid bogs! Although it has the scientific name of Phragmites australis there does not appear to be any direct link to the plant originating in Australia, it is very much a native of Europe.
This plant can spread to cover large areas and forms an invaluable habitat for birds. Here in Dorset, of course, some parts of Poole Harbour, Christchurch Harbour, Radipole Lake and Lodmore all have vast Phragmites reed beds. If you want to find bearded tit or cettis warbler, water rail or bittern, or even marsh harrier, then it is a large Phragmites bed you need. They are also used by swallows and starlings for roosting, often in large numbers.
 
A large, bold plant visible all year

Read more: Common Reed: thatching and weaving | Nature Notes from Dorset