The giant reed is a tall, cane-like perennial grass that can grow to over 20 feet in height. It is native to India and was introduced into the U.S. in the early 1800’s. Arundo was used for erosion control because its fleshy creeping rootstock forms a compact tough fibrous root mass that penetrates deeply into the soil. Arundo is fast growing, out competes most other vegetation, and forms dense monoculture stands. Leaves are elongate, 1-2 inches wide and a foot long. Flowers appear in August and September, are 2 feet long, plume like, and stand erect. Reproduction of giant reed is primarily vegetative, through rhizomes which root and sprout readily. Arundo often chokes river and stream corridors, out competes native plants, destroys native wildlife Habitat, complicates flood control measures, increases the potential for wildfires, and increases soil/aquifer water loss through evapotranspiration.
Giant reed is a terrestrial plant that tolerates flooding. Its rapid growth and competitiveness has allowed it to form pure stands and take over riparian areas. Arundo is used by birds like blackbirds for roosting and rodents will consume the roots and shoots.