Arundo donax L.

Giant Reed
Poaceae (Grass Family)


Giant reed is a tall perennial reed with stout culms growing to 20' or more that has become a major problem in southern California and which is the target of frequent eradication programs.  The leaf blades are glabrous, sheathed, flat or folded, and from 3/4" to 2-1/4" wide.  The flowers appear in a plume-like inflorescence to 2' long with several-flowered spikelets each of which is 3/8" to 1/2" long and is subtended by a pair of narrow, slender-pointed, membranous and ± unequal glumes about as long as the spikelet.  The individual florets are successively smaller toward the apex and made up of thin, 3-7-veined somewhat silky lemmae, and peleae 1/8" to 1/4" long and hairy at the base.  Arundo inhabits moist places like ditches, seeps and streambanks in both cismontane and desert California below 1500'.  It is native to Europe, and blooms from March to September.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Arundo 2) donax.
Pronunciation: a-RUN-doe DOE-nax.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.