What are reeds?

Reeds are actually a sort of grass, called Phragmytes Australis. They grow in wet places like slow-moving rivers and estuaries where they cover large areas called reedbeds. They form a dense mat of special roots called rhizomes under the water which helps to build up soil and hold the reedbed together.

Every year new shoots grow up from the rhizome and reach up to seven feet tall in just a few months. They form purple flower heads in late summer which later turn into seeds which are carried away on the wind. In the autumn and winter the stems die and dry out and turn a golden straw colour. It is these dead dried stems which are cut for thatch.