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Arundo donax

Pronunciation: A-run-doe doe-nax
Family: Poaceae/gramineae (grass family)
Common Name: Giant reed, carrizo
Plant Type:
  • grasses
Height to: 20'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The leaves look like those of a corn plant. Their margins are sharp to the touch and can cut careless hands. The inflorescence, appearing in late summer, is a 1-2 ft (0. 3-0. 6 m) long purplish (aging to silver) plume that stands above the foliage. Giant reed spreads from thick, knobby rhizomes. The foliage dries to light brown in the winter and rattles in the wind.
Soil Type: Giant reed grows best and gets largest with lots of water during the growing season. It thrives in soils that stay moist, and can even tolerate occasional standing water. Unlike most reeds, however, giant reed also does well in average garden soils, where it will not get as large nor spread as aggressively. It even tolerates drought.
Plant Perks:
  • Cut Flower
Propagation: Giant reed can be propagated by rooting sections of the stem in water; pot up when roots have developed and keep moist for a few months before planting out. Giant reed is easy to propagate by dividing off pieces of the rhizome in spring.
Native to: Native to the mediterranean region, giant reed has been widely introduced and is now common in many parts of the world, including the southern u. S. From california to florida and northward on the east coast to maryland. It can be found growing on river banks and in ditches. Giant reed often is planted to control erosion on wet slopes and canal banks. It can be an invasive weed in tropical climates, clogging irrigation ditches and displacing native species in natural wetlands. Giant reed is not invasive in temperate regions.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - giant reed is grown as an ornamental for the striking appearance of its large two-ranked leaves that arch gracefully from stout, sometimes purplish stems, and for the huge feather-like panicles of purplish flowers. Not counting the bamboos, this is the largest and tallest ornamental grass, and the tallest grass that can be grown outside the tropics. It is best used as a bold and attention-grabbing accent near water or in the background of large gardens. Use giant reed freely in areas with cold winters, but beware of its aggressive invasiveness and large size in zones 9-11. The large, thick and fluffy flower plumes are excellent in dried arrangements. Cut the plants back in late winter and use the old stems as supports in the vegetable garden. Giant reed is widely planted in wet soils to control erosion. The reeds in woodwind musical instruments are made from the split stems of giant reed, and organ pipes formerly were made from sections of the stem. The durable stems have been woven together to make wattle for use as walls, fences and roofs for thousands of years.  warninggiant reed is invasive, and can crowd out native wetland plants in tropical and subtropical climates.  
Seed photo: 1
Located in: Grasses
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