Monday, May 16, 2016

Giant Grass may come under control

                                                                by Fred Schueler and Aleta Karstad

"Autumn Phragmites" oil painting by Aleta Karstad



Highway 416 east of Kemptville Ontario is totally lined with tall, plume-headed reed grass, and if you don't remember having seen it before the highway was twinned, you're not mistaken! This is Phragmites australis subspecies australis, the Common Reed of Europe, and it wasn't documented by museum specimens in eastern Ontario before 1976.

At the University of Toronto, Fred's Ph.D. outside minor was systematic botany, and his project was hybridization between the native Broad-leaved Cattail, Typha latifolia, and the now-thought-to-be-invasive Narrow-leaved Cattail, Typha angustifolia.