This tall, coarse grass grows to 3.5 meters tall and has gray-green
leaves about 4 centimeters wide. It has large masses of brown
flower branches in early summer. These rarely produce grain and
become fluffy, gray masses late in the season.
Habitat and Distribution
Look for reed in any open, wet area, especially one that has
been disturbed through dredging. Reed is found throughout the
temperate regions of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
All parts of the plant are edible raw or cooked in any season.
Harvest the stems as they emerge from the soil and boil them.
You can also harvest them just before they produce flowers, then
dry and beat them into flour. You can also dig up and boil the
underground stems, but they are often tough. Seeds are edible
raw or boiled, but they are rarely found.
Some authors say you can boil the mashed stems down to create
a sugary syrup (but it didn't work when we tried it).
The stems have been used for arrows, for small game, but they
The roots can be roasted and eaten.
One thing that makes reed grass a useful as a survival food,
is that it can be seen and identified from a long distance.