Arundo donax

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Arundo donax L.

Poaceae

Life form: grass
Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: sun   7

Moisture: moderately moist bis Moisture: moist

Soil: loam - Soil: sandy loam - Soil: gritty loam - Soil: clay - Soil: sandy clay - Soil: loamy clay - Soil: peat

Arrangement: opposite
Leaves: decidious

Shape: linear

Division: simple

Shape: not specified
Fruit: caryopsis

31C / e76c51 

Inflorescence: panicle

Petals: single
Habit: not specified

Growth form: stemless

Taxonomy

Divisio:
Magnoliophyta
Subdivisio:
Magnoliophytina
Classis:
Liliopsida
Subclassis:
Commelinidae
Superordo:
Poanae
Ordo:
Poales

Arundo donax, commonly known as giant reed, is a grass.

Naming

Arundo donax was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name is considered as validly published.

Taxonomy

Arundo donax is a species in the genus Arundo which contains approximately 3 to 43 species and belongs to the family of the Poaceae (Grass Family).

Characteristics

Arundo donax - habitus
Arundo donax - leaves

Growth

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.

Leaves

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.

Root System

The plants produce rhizomes which give rise to vegetative spread.

Distribution

Arundo donax is native to Southern Europe.

Cultivation

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 -18°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

  • banks
  • 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

Uses

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.

Cultivars

Pests and Diseases

Literature

  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große 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.

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