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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.

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.