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The common name for any of several tall grasses, especially of the genera Phragmites or Arundo. The common reed, Phragmites communis, is native to marshes and wetlands in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Reed stalks have hollow, circular stems composed of soft bulky fibers. Small thin pieces of the stems have been used to make musical wind instruments. Fibers from the stalks are used for making baskets and paper pulp. The paper reed, Cyperus papyrus, used for ancient Egyptian papyrus, is actually a sedge type grass with a triangular stem.

Synonyms and Related Terms

common reed; ditch reed; grass; carrizo (Esp.)

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • A.Lucas, J.R.Harris, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd., London, 4th edition, 1962
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998