Arundo donax

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 Arundo donax subsp. var.  Giant Reed
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
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Poaceae > Arundo donax var. ,

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Arundo donax L. (Giant Cane) is a tall perennial cane growing in damp soils, either fresh or moderately saline. Other common names include Carrizo, Spanish cane, wild cane, giant reed and arundo. It is native to eastern Asia but has been widely planted and naturalised in the temperate and subtropical regions of both hemispheres (Herrera & Dudley 2003), especially in the Mediterranean, California and the Caribbean.[1] It forms dense stands, and can be invasive.

Generally growing to 6 m, in ideal conditions it can exceed 10 m, with hollow stems 2-3 cm diameter. The leaves are alternate, 30-60 cm long and 2-6 cm broad with a tapered tip, grey-green, and have a hairy tuft at the base. Overall, it resembles an outsize common reed (Phragmites australis) or a bamboo (Subfamily Bambusoideae).

Arundo donax flowers in late summer, bearing upright, feathery plumes 40-60 cm long, but the seeds are rarely fertile. Instead, it mostly reproduces vegetatively, by underground rhizomes. The rhizomes are tough and fibrous and form knotty, spreading mats that penetrate deep into the soil up to one metre deep (Alden et al., 1998; Mackenzie, 2004). Stem and rhizome pieces less than 5 cm long and containing a single node readily sprouted under a variety of conditions (Boose and Holt, 1999). This vegetative growth appears to be well adapted to floods, which may break up individual A. donax clumps, spreading the pieces, which may sprout and colonise further downstream (Mackenzie 2004).

It uses large amounts of water from its wet habitat to supply the rapid rate of growth, up to 5 cm per day in spring (Perdue 1958). It is capable of growing in dense stands, which may crowd out other plants and prevent their growth.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Arundo donax, Linn. Giant Reed. Tall and stout, as much as 20 ft., from large knotty root- stocks: blades numerous, cordate-clasping and hairy-tufted at base, 2-3 in. wide on main st.: panicle 1-2 ft.; spikelets 6 lines long.—Cult, for ornament because of the regularly placed Lvs. and the large plumes. A smaller less hardy variegated form with white-striped Lvs. is cult, under the name of var. variegata (var. versicolor; var. pícta). Var. macrophylla has large glaucous Lvs.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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