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Giant Cane (Arundinaria gigantea)

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Summary

A bamboo species native to North America, once widespread and a dominant plant in the southeastern U.S., but having declined greatly.

Range - Expand

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Native

This tentative map is based on the FHWA's ERA. This data lacks information on Canada, but also overestimates native ranges, especially around the edges, as this post explains. We have not yet reviewed or fixed this map.

USDA Plants Profile for Arundinaria gigantea

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) Article for Arundinaria gigantea

Similar Plants

Habitat

Mostly found in bottomlands and flat areas with water-saturated soils, but can be found on mesic to slightly drier sites as well. Usually only a dominant plant in areas prone to fire. It has been hypothesized that this species most inhabited sites transitional between more frequently-disturbed sites (which would favor grasses and sedges) and less-frequently-disturbed sites (which would support closed-canopy forests.)

Switch cane (Arundinaria tecta) is closely related, and has sometimes been treated as a variety of the same species. Similarly, hill cane (Arundinaria appalachiana) was also until recently treated as a subspecies or variety of switch cane.

Numerous other genera belong to the Arundinarieae tribe of the grass family, mostly non-native. Several, including 12 Phyllostachys species, three Pleioblastus species, and Pseudosasa japonica, have been introduced in North America.

There are even more bamboos in the broader Bambusoideae subfamily.