Phragmites karka

Phragmites karka

Family: Poaceae

Origin: Africa, Asia, Oceania

Phragmites karka stand.
A tall perennial grass that can grow up to 4m tall. The grass tends to die down in the winter and grow again in the spring.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Eradication
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Tall, perennial, deciduous, rhizomatous reed < 4 m tall. Leaves are attached directly to the stalk and ligule hairs are present. Seed heads are feathery and golden brown.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Phragmites karka within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant Phragmites karka within the Auckland region.

Auckland Council will control Phragmites karka at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see Phragmites karka anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at


Estuaries, fresh to brackish wetlands, wet grassland.


Seeds dispersed by wind, unknown if seed viable in NZ. Vegetative spread from rhizomes and stem fragments.

Impact on environment

Forms dense stands, outcompeting and dominating native plants. Potential to interfere with recreational activities on waterways. May impact the mauri of wai māori and whanga/harbours.


Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Phragmites karka stems in a clump.
Seed heads are brown and feathery but it is unknown if they are yet viable in NZ. If you see this plant you must report it to Auckland Council who will manage its control.