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Giant Reed Grass

Arundo donax

Poaceae (Grass Family)

▲▼ mature colony of giant reed

▲▼ individual stem with wide leaf blades

▲ flowering colony, with large, broom-like panicles

Arundo donax:  Giant Reed Grass

Location near campus:  in ornamental grass bed toward southwest corner of Master Gardener areas north  of Botanical Center Building in Nathanael Green park at the Botanical Center.

·         Asian warm-season, clumping grass with broad, relatively short leaf blades (2-3” wide by 12-24” long)

·         Leaves are medium to gray green in color; white variegated leaf forms also available

·         Can increase clump/colony size by shoots from short, thick rhizomes

·         Unbranched stems grow 6-25’ tall in a single growing season

·         Inflorescences are dense, broom-like, silvery-gray terminal panicles produced in early fall

·         Stems do not persist beyond one year—new growth always starts from the ground (in Missouri)

·         Stems are not woody like bamboo, but stem pith is source of reeds for woodwind musical instruments

·         Prefers full sun (can tolerate light shade), moist, well-drained fertile soils, although can grow in wetter soils

·         Large leaves, stems make it a focal point in landscapes, so careful planning in using it, particularly in smaller yards, is recommended

·         Is invasive in western U.S.


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