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Glossary

Last Updated: Spring 2012
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Synonyms: NONE

Family: Poaceae

Home Range/U.S. Introduction:
Giant reed is a native of Europe and has become naturalized throughout southern United States.

U.S. Range Map:



USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 18 June 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Species Description:
Giant reed is a perennial clump-forming grass that can attain heights of 7-8 meters. The leaves are chiefly cauline, long tapering to a sharply acute tip. The blades are flat 2-6 cm wide with scabrous margins. The ligule is membranous and minutely ciliate. The panicles are large and plumy and may reach a length of 2 m. Long hairs on the lemmas give the plumes a feathery appearance.

Habitat/Growth Characteristics:
Giant reed grows rapidly and can readily propagate from rhizomes, thereby forming tall dense stands. Fertile caryopsis seldom develop. The grass commonly invades areas along streambeds.

Problems:
Giant reed easily displaces native species and forms monospecific stands along waterways. These monocultures consume more water than native plants, create flood-control problems, and the large biomass that dies back each season creates a fire hazard.