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Giant Reed spikelet clusters and leaves
Photographer: Sue Lawrence
Location: behind a fast-food restaurant in Alexander City, AL
I was on my way to Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City, AL (coming from Birmingham)and had stopped at a fast-food restaurant for a quick breakfast. Parking my car near the back of the restaurant, my eyes were immediately drawn to a very large stand of tall grasses with sturdy stems. Looking 12 feet skyward I saw dozens of thick bushy foot-long tips. To me they looked just like huge cotton swabs or furniture dusters. Some of the puffy tassels were white and others were streaky brown, and they had long skinny grasses, along with leaves that were wider at their base. According to the book "National Audubon Society: Field Guide to Wildflowers, Eastern Region of North America" these are Giant Reeds (Phragmites australis) which are grasses native to all continents except Antarctica. It is the dominant vegetation of Hackensack Meadows of New Jersey (in the USA), where it filters pollutants from the greater New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, thus serving a vital role.
Digital Alterations: 
Photo cropped (on the sides), scene changed to "cloudy," color saturation increased by 20%, and image sharpened by 25%. No change to contrast.
Camera Information: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300, 20.4 mega pixels, 50x Optical Zoom
Special Equipment: