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CommentsThis is the aggressive wetland grass that everybody seems to hate. For a brief period of time, it is somewhat attractive when its seedheads become golden brown (see the upper photograph). Otherwise, it forms dense stands of stems and leaves in various stages of development and decay. Once one becomes familiar with this grass, it is fairly easy to identify. For someone who is unfamiliar with Reed Canary Grass, look for a grass species in disturbed wetland habitats that forms dense colonies of hairless plants. The leaf blades of this species are quite broad at the base (up to ¾' across, if not more). The inflorescence consists of a narrow panicle of spikelets with short side branches that are erect to slightly spreading. Each spikelet consists of 2 large keeled glumes at its base (about 5 mm. long) and a single fertile lemma in-between that is a little smaller than the glumes. This lemma is similar in appearance to the glumes, but it is finely pubescent (requires a 10x hand lens to see). Any grass species fitting this description is likely Reed Canary Grass, especially if it is forming seedheads during the early summer. The seeds of an introduced species, Phalaris canariensis (Canary Grass), is a common source of food for caged birds. This latter species is shorter and less aggressive than Reed Canary Grass; it rarely escapes into the wild.