Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Chapm. ssp. tecta (Walt.) McClure

  • Family: Poaceae (grasses)
  • Common names: switchcane, giant cane
  • Synonyms: Arundinaria tecta, Arundo tecta

    A woody grass (bamboo) 0.6 to 4 m (2-12 ft) tall and 3 cm (1.4 in) in diameter. Perennial and semi-evergreen. Foliage on stems two years and older is on side branches. Leaves 8-20 cm (3.1-8 in) long and 0.8-3 cm (0.3-1.4in) wide. Flowers in early spring at irregular intervals of several years. Panicles are formed on the branches and consist of a few racemes of large many-flowered spikelets. Vegetative reproduction is rapid and extensive, by large fast-growing rhizomes, and the species formerly occupied large areas (canebrakes) in the floodplains of southeastern rivers.

    Distribution: The range of the species is southeastern U. S., from the Gulf Coast north to New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
    Habitat: Well-drained floodplain forests.
    NWI status: none
    Comment: Arundinaria is derived from a Latin word for reed; gigantea refers to the large size of the species in relation to other members of the genus; tecta refers to the large sheaths of the flowering shoots.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/8/99
    Go to Oklahoma Biological Survey Home Page