Reed sweet-grass

Reed Sweet-grass

©Philip Precey

Reed sweet-grass

Scientific name: Glyceria maxima
Reed sweet-grass is a towering grass with large, loose flower heads that can be found on marshy ground near rivers, streams and ponds. It can become invasive, but does shelter various aquatic creatures.

Species information


Height: up to 2.5m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Reed sweet-grass is a tall plant of shallow water and marshy ground, towering above other grasses and forming large patches around rivers, streams and ponds. It flowers between June and August. Although it can become invasive in some areas, large stands can provide good shelter for all kinds of wetland creatures.

How to identify

Reed sweet-grass is a tall grass with large, loose flower heads that are much branched and have narrow spikelets that contain the flowers. Its leaves are long and bright green.


Mainly found in England, scarce elsewhere.

Did you know?

If you happen to be in Cumbria, Scotland or Sussex, look for Reed Beetles (Donacia aquatica) on Reed Sweet-grass from spring onwards. These spectacularly colourful beetles have a metallic blue sheen and rainbow stripes down their wingcases. They are very rare and are classified as a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.