giant reed

Arundo donax L.

U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Herb Shrub

Synonym(s): elephant grass, wild cane, cana brava, carrizo, arundo

Arundo donax is a perennial grass that can reach up to 20 ft. (6.1 m) in height. Although it can be much shorter when damaged or stressed. The stem resembles a corn stalk.
Leaves are long, flat and grow up to 1.5 ft. (0.5 m) long. They can be green or have variegated green and white stripes the length of the blade.
Flowering occurs in late summer to early fall, when plants are most easily recognized because of the large, dense flower plumes that develop at the tops of the culms. The plums can grow up to 3 ft. (0.9 m) in length.
No fruits or seeds typically outside of its native range. The plant spreads through rhizomes and stem nodes that come in contact with the soil.
Ecological Threat
Arundo donax invades wetlands such as ditches, stream banks and lake shores. Arundo donax competes for water, nutrients and radiation, suppresses and excludes native vegetation which degrades wildlife habitat, increases fire risks and interferes with flood control. Arundo donax is native to India and was introduced into the United States in the early 1800s for ornamental purposes.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas - Plant Conservation Alliance
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy
Fire Effects Information System - USDA Forest Service
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service
Weed Field Guide - USDA Forest Service