Arundo donax is classified as a tall perennial cane plant or reed. It is a member of the Poaceae (grass and bamboo) family.
It is called by several common names such as Giant reed, Elephant grass, Carrizo, Arundo, Spanish Cane, and Giant cane.
Arundo donax photograph by Harry Rose.
It grows best in a wetland environment, and has been successfully planted all over the world.
Unfortunately, it has been somewhat too successful in some places as it has an invasive root system.
These roots can prevent other plant life from growing in the same area because of how tightly bound the root fibers are as they spread.
leaves of the variegated cultivar of Arundo donax photograph by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.
Scientists have begun growing the reed as a possible energy crop, as a sustainable biofuel. Arundo donax also has potential for phytoremediation; a plant used to clean air, soil, and water of contaminants.
Spanish Cane (Also known as Giant Reed), photograph by Miguel Angel Chamorro Moreno; CC.
Arundo donax is unable to be grown from seed, but spreads by an underground root system.
As the roots spread, clones of the main plant grow along with it. The plant grows much more quickly than surrounding plants and can easily outcompete them if left to run wild.
Giant reed grows best in wet soils. But can be grown in gravel or heavy clay soils, this can be beneficial as the root system will not spread as quickly.
A moderate watering schedule is recommended for the plant for the best growth. In more arid conditions the plant will simply die back, but will regrow when its water needs are met.
Arundo donax plant seed head, image by 阿橋 HQ; CC.