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Phalaris arundinacea - L.
Common Name Canary Grass, Reed canarygrass, Gardener's Garter Grass, Ribbon Grass
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 4-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet places and shallow water[187].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain but excluding the Mediterranean, W. N. and E. Asia, N. America.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Mid summer. Form: Spreading or horizontal, Upright or erect, Variable spread.

Phalaris arundinacea Canary Grass, Reed canarygrass, Gardener

Phalaris arundinacea
Phalaris arundinacea Canary Grass, Reed canarygrass, Gardener
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Phalaris arundinacea is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil.


 Ground Cover; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known


Other Uses
Biomass;  Pollution;  Weaving.

Plants have a running root system and form an impenetrable ground cover. They should be mown 2 - 3 times in their first 2 - 3 years in order to encourage thick growth[200]. Plants are best spaced about 60cm apart each way[208]. The leaves have been woven into hats and mats[257]. his is one of the main species used in the reed bed system for the water purification treatment of grey water and for irrigation with pollution control sewage effluent from municipal and industrial sources[269]. One of the highest yielding fodder grasses with annual yields ranging from 8 - 20 tonnes per hectare, it has potential as a source of biomass[269].
Cultivation details
Industrial Crop: Biomass;  Management: Hay;  New Crop;  Staple Crop: Protein.

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Erosion control, Foundation, Ground cover, Massing, Seashore, Specimen, Woodland garden. A very easy plant to grow, it succeeds in ordinary garden soil[187], though it grows best on moist sandy soils, rich in organic matter[269]. It also does well on fertile loams and clays[269]. Succeeds in most soils, whether dry or wet[200] and is moderately tolerant of drought[269]. It does not like saline soils[269]. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 30 to 260cm, an annual temperature in the range of of 5 to 23°C and a pH of 4.5 to 8.2[269]. Plants can be very invasive, especially in moist conditions, there dense growth provides good cover for water fowl[200]. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c[187, 200]. This is one of the first grasses to come into growth in the spring[269]. There are many named forms, selected mainly for their ornamental value[200]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Invasive, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Suitable for dried flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring[200]. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Phalaris canariensisCanary Grass, Annual canarygrass20
Phalaris minorSmall Canary Grass, Littleseed canarygrass10


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Botanical References
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Readers comment
stephanie Clemens   Mon Jul 18 17:06:46 2005
This plant is an invasive weed in many places. Please do not plant it!
Harpo   Fri Feb 3 2006
The very strong hallucinogen N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (commonly called DMT) can be extracted from this plant.

DMT World Methods for extraction of DMT from Phalaris A. and other plant sources

Ray   Mon Oct 1 2007
Can I plant this in the ground in the fall in NC coastal area?
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Subject : Phalaris arundinacea  

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