giant reed

Cyperales > Poaceae > Arundo donax L.
Synonym(s): elephant grass

Giant reed is a perennial grass that can reach up to 20 ft. (6.1 m) in height. The stem resembles a corn stalk and has long, flat leaves up to 1.5 ft. (0.5 m) long. Flowering occurs in late summer to early fall, when plants are most easily recognized because of the large, dense flower plumes that develop at the tops of the culms. The plums can grow up to 3 ft. (0.9 m) in length. Giant reed invades wetlands such as ditches, stream banks and lake shores. Giant reed can completely suppress and remove native vegetation very easily, which reduces wildlife habitat, increases fire risks and interferes with flood control. Giant reed is native to India and was introduced into the United States in the early 1800s for ornamental purposes.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Feature(s); Clasping leaf bases. Tift County, GA
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); in June
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; leaves and stem closeup in June
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Stand growing back after being bulldozed
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s); Shown with pen for size comparison. Tift County, GA
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); whole plants with infertile seedheads in November
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); Large plants in September
Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); December
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Diagram or Graphic; Hitchcock, A.S. (rev. A. Chase). 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. USDA Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • California - Invasive Plant Inventory
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Nevada - Noxious Weed Law
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Western North America
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia