Reed meadow grass

Reed meadow grass

Glyceria maxima

Common Name:

Reed meadow grass

Scientific Name:

Glyceria maxima

Alternative common names:

Reed sweet grass, great mannagrass and reed mannagrass.


Reed meadow grass is a perennial rhizomatous grass with unbranched erect stems growing up to 1-2.5m. It occurs in several Maloti-Drakensberg wetlands. Although this species has high erosion control and forage production values, it is extremely invasive. It is also known to be one of the most invasive grasses worldwide and has become a threat to wetland biodiversity where introduced.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?


What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA - Category 1b.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

KwaZulu-Natal (Maloti-Drakensberg wetlands).

How does it spread?

The seeds appear to be distributed primarily by water, less so by wind, and may also be distributed via the claws and hooves of birds and livestock as well as in mud on machinery. It also spreads through vegetative expansion.

Why is it a problem?

This species spreads aggressively along waterways and throughout wetland areas, and it thrives in ecosystems that are nutrient-enriched as a result of human activities. It forms large and dense stands that crowd out and replace indigenous wetland vegetation.

What does it look like?

Leaves: Leaves are bright green, tinged red, with blades up to 16mm wide.

Flowers: Inflorescence is a panicle, distinguished from other reeds by larger and non-silky/fluffy spikelets, which appear from January to March.

Fruit/seeds: Seeds are oval in shape and about 1.5-2mm long.

Does the plant have any uses?

The plant was introduced both as forage for livestock and as an ornamental plant.

Leave a Reply