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Vascular Plants of California
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Arundo donax

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to woody perennial herb; roots generally fibrous. Stem: generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear, parallel-veined; sheath generally open; ligule membranous or hairy, at blade base. Inflorescence: various (of generally many spikelets). Spikelet: glumes generally 2; florets (lemma, palea, flower) 1--many; lemma generally membranous, sometimes glume-like; palea generally +- transparent, +- enclosed by lemma. Flower: generally bisexual, minute; perianth vestigial; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose. Fruit: grain, sometimes achene- or utricle-like.
Genera In Family: 650--900 genera; +- 10550 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials). Note: Generally wind-pollinated. Achnatherum, Ampelodesmos, Hesperostipa, Nassella, Piptatherum, Piptochaetium, Ptilagrostis moved to Stipa; Elytrigia, Leymus, Pascopyrum, Pseudoroegneria, Taeniatherum to Elymus; Hierochloe to Anthoxanthum; Lolium, Vulpia to Festuca; Lycurus to Muhlenbergia; Monanthochloe to Distichlis; Pleuraphis to Hilaria; Rhynchelytrum to Melinis. The following taxa (in genera not included here), recorded in California from historical collections or reported in literature, are extirpated, lacking vouchers, or not considered naturalized: Acrachne racemosa (Roth) Ohwi, Allolepis texana (Vasey) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker, Amphibromus nervosus (Hook. f.) Baill., Axonopus affinis Chase, Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm., Coix lacryma-jobi L., Cutandia memphitica (Spreng.) K. Richt., Dinebra retroflexa (Vahl) Panz., Eremochloa ciliaris (L.) Merr., Eustachys distichophylla (Lag.) Nees, Gaudinia fragilis (L.) P. Beauv., Miscanthus sinensis Andersson, Neyraudia arundinacea (L.) Henrard, Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C. Rivière, Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zuccarini, Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton, Schedonnardus paniculatus (Nutt.) Branner & Coville, Schizachyrium cirratum (Hack.) Wooton & Standl., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze, Thysanolaena latifolia (Hornem.) Honda, Tribolium obliterum (Hemsl.) Renvoize, Zea mays L., Zizania palustris L. var. interior (Fassett) Dore, Zoysia japonica Steud. Paspalum pubiflorum E. Fourn., Paspalum quadrifarium Lam., are now reported for southern California (J Bot Res Inst Texas 4:761--770). See Glossary p. 30 for illustrations of general family characteristics.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: James P. Smith, Jr., J. Travis Columbus, Dieter H. Wilken.
Genus: ArundoView Description 

Habit: Perennial herb; rhizomes short, thick. Stem: erect, bamboo-like. Leaf: cauline; sheaths > internodes, glabrous; ligule thinly membranous, fringed; blade flat or folded, glabrous, margin scabrous. Inflorescence: panicle-like, plume-like, silvery to +- purple. Spikelet: laterally compressed; glumes > florets, 3--5-veined; axis glabrous; florets 1--several, breaking above glumes and between florets; lemma 3--7-veined, hairy, awn +- 0; palea < lemma;
Etymology: (Latin: a reed grass) Note: Used in construction, for mats and baskets, fishing rods, to make reeds for woodwind instruments, organ-pipes, windbreaks.
eFlora Treatment Author: Kelly W. Allred
Arundo donax L.
Stem: 2--10 m; nodes glabrous; internodes 1--3.5 cm thick, +- woody at maturity. Leaf: blade < 1 m, 2--6 cm wide. Inflorescence: 2--7(9) dm; branches ascending. Spikelet: 10--14 mm; glumes 10--13 mm, thin, silvery, +- brown, or +- purple; lemma 8--12 mm, tip 2-toothed, hairs < 8 mm, silky; palea 3--5 mm, hairy at base; anthers 2.5--3 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=110.
Ecology: Moist places, seeps, ditchbanks; Elevation: < 1500 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, KR, c SNF, GV, CCo, SCoR, SCo, SnGb, D; Distribution Outside California: southern United States; native to Europe. Flowering Time: Mar--Sep
Jepson eFlora Author: Kelly W. Allred
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Noxious Weed listed on the CDFA Weed Pest Ratings table
View the CDFA Pest Rating page for Arundo donax
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Botanical illustration including Arundo donax

botanical illustration including Arundo donax

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Citation for this treatment: Kelly W. Allred 2012, Arundo donax, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 15, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 15, 2024.

Arundo donax
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©2009 Neal Kramer
Arundo donax
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©2012 Neal Kramer
Arundo donax
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©2002 David Graber
Arundo donax
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©2009 Thomas Stoughton
Arundo donax
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©2009 Thomas Stoughton

More photos of Arundo donax
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Arundo donax:
NCo, KR, c SNF, GV, CCo, SCoR, SCo, SnGb, D
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).