Arundo

Scientific name

Arundo L.

Common names

carrizo, arundo, giant reed, oboe cane

Family

Poaceae

Could be confused with

bamboo, various grasses when juvenile

Native distribution

Old World (Mediterranean)

Species commonly cultivated

Arundo donax L. (northern Africa, Asia, eastern Europe)

Adventive distribution

introduced into and common throughout the New World

Weed status

Arundo donax is a significant invasive weed throughout the world; listed as a noxious weed in numerous countries.

Habit

tall, emergent or terrestrial

Brief description

Very tall (up to 6 m) emergent grass. Rhizome creeping, hard and thick, with knots. Leaves cauline, up to 100 cm long and 7 cm wide; rounded at base and tapering to a point; ligules large, papery. Inflorescence a large (up to 60 cm long), dense, erect and feathery, whitish to brown panicle; spikelets solitary, stalked, each with 2-7 flowers. Caryopses dispersed by wind and water.

The cultivar Arundo donax 'Variegata' is smaller than A. donax (to 3 m), with cream and green variegated leaves.

Natural habitat

wetlands and riparian habitats

Additional comments

Arundo donax can have a large effect on riparian ecosystems, where it can increase fires, accelerate erosion, and replace native species with poor habitat. Arundo donax 'Variegata' is not known to be weedy and rarely flowers.