Arundo donax L.
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Arundo donax, commonly known as giant reed, is a grass.
Arundo donax was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name is considered as validly published.
The comparatively fast-growing grasses have a erect habit and reach heights of 3 to 5 metres. They spread rapidly, the main growing season is from spring to fall. The plants reach a width of 0.4 to 1 metres.
Arundo donax is deciduous. The dark-green, simple leaves are opposite. They are linear and clasping with entire margins and parallel venation. The leaves are around 250 centimetres large. The foliage is dense.
Flowers and Fruits
Arundo donax produces panicles of red-orange flowers from August to September.
The grasses produce caryopses.
The plants produce rhizomes which give rise to vegetative spread.
Arundo donax is native to Southern Europe.
The grasses prefer a sunny situation on fresh to moist soil. They prefer loamy, sandy-loamy, gritty-loamy, clay, sandy clay, loamy clay or peaty soil with a pH between 4,8 and 7. The plants need a soil depth of at least 61 centimetres for good growth. They tolerate temperatures down to -18Â°C (USDA zone 7) and need a frost-free period of at least 31 weeks. The plants are suited for the shore areas of and in artificial standing bodies of water, the shores areas of and in natural standing bodies of water and natural streams.
Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber
- open areas
- woodland borders (soil usually rich in humus)
Tolerance of special soil conditions
- none: soil salinity
- low: drought, calcareous soil
- medium: anaerobic soil
- high: city climate
Arundo donax is considered a collector's perennial. The recommended planting distance is 2,5 metres, the grasses are best planted in groups of 3 to 5. Suited as specimen plant.
Maintenance and Propagation
- Winter protection is absolutely necessary.
- Cut back in spring.
Propagate by division.
Pests and Diseases
- Walter Erhardt, Erich GÃ¶tz, Nils BÃ¶deker, Siegmund Seybold: Der groÃe Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
- Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.