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Mention phragmites and you’re likely to hear an agonized groan from a long list of people, including biologists and coastal landowners.

“It definitely has a bad rap, and there’s a good reason for that,” said Mollie Yacano, a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences.

If kudzu ate the South, then it’s fair to say phragmites ate the coast. And like its better-known invasive relative, phragmites — or at least the variant that’s clogging coastal and inland wetlands from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes — isn’t supposed to be here.

USA Today Network (via Wilmington Star-News)