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Arundinaria gigantea - (Walter.)Muhl.

Common Name Canebrake bamboo, Cane Reed, Giant cane
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Forms dense thickets along riverbanks, in swamps and low woods[43, 235]. Found on all types of soil from sea level to 600 metres[195].
Range Southeastern N. America - Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Oklahoma to North Carolina, Florida and Texas.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Arundinaria gigantea Canebrake bamboo, Cane Reed, Giant cane


Ted Bodner @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Miller, J.H. and K.V. Miller. 2005. Forest plants of the southeast and their wildlife uses. University of Georgia Press, Athens.
Arundinaria gigantea Canebrake bamboo, Cane Reed, Giant cane
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 1: 295.

 

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Summary

Canebrake bamboo - Young shoots are edible and cooked. They are used as a pot-herb. The seed is also cooked and used as a wheat substitute. The extense growth of the plant provides streambank stabilization, sediment retention, and bioaccumulation of nutrients and toxins.So long as it can be restrained, the plant makes an excellent, dense hedge or screen. Arundinaria gigantea tecta is a smaller subspecies commonly called dwarf canebrake and grows to about 1.5m. Conditions for dwarf canebrake are similar to the larger version.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Arundinaria gigantea is an evergreen Bamboo growing to 9 m (29ft 6in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

A. macrosperma. Arundo gigantea. Bambusa newmanii.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed  Stem
Edible Uses:

Young shoots - cooked[11, 22, 46, 105, 183]. Used as a pot-herb[236]. Seed - cooked[46, 61, 161]. It can be used as a wheat substitute[2, 105], for which it is not much inferior[213], but it is rather small and difficult to collect in quantity[159]. The plants only flower at irregular intervals of several years.

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Cathartic

The root is cathartic. A decoction has been used to stimulate the kidneys and 'renew strength'[257].

References

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Other Uses

Basketry  Hedge  Musical  Soil stabilization  Weaving

Agroforestry Uses: With its extensive running root system, the plant is ideal for helping to control soil erosion, especially along the sides of rivers[352]. The extense growth of the plant provides streambank stabilization, sediment retention, and bioaccumulation of nutrients and toxins[1050].So long as it can be restrained, the plant makes an excellent, dense hedge or screen[352]. The canes are used as pipe-stems, are woven into baskets and mats plus a variety of other purposes[169, 236]. The hollow stems can be made into flutes[257]. Carbon Farming Solutions - Industrial Crop: biomass (Crops grown for non-food uses. Industrial crops provide resources in three main categories: materials, chemicals, and energy. Traditional materials include lumber and thatch, paper and cardboard, and textiles) [1-1]. Fodder: bank.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest  Hedge

References

Cultivation details

Fodder: Bank  Management: Managed Multistem  Wild Crop

Prefers an open loam of fair quality and a position sheltered from cold drying winds[1, 11, 25]. Succeeds on peaty soils. Requires abundant moisture and plenty of organic matter in the soil. Plants are intolerant of drought[1]. Succeeds in full sun or dappled shade in warm, humid, damp conditions[200]. Some reports say that this plant is only hardy in S.W. England[1, 11, 25] though another report says that the roots are hardy to about -30°c if they are heavily mulched[169]. This plant used to form very extensive stands in much of south-eastern N. America, but it provides a nutritious forage and is very easily destroyed by the continuous grazing of cattle or the rooting of pigs and so has been greatly reduced in the wild[236]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Plants only flower at intervals of many years. When they do come into flower most of the plants energies are directed into producing seed and consequently the plant is severely weakened. They sometimes die after flowering, but if left alone they will usually recover though they will look very poorly for a few years. If fed with artificial NPK fertilizers at this time the plants are more likely to die[122]. The rootstock is running, forming new shoots from late May[25]. Carbon Farming Solutions - Managed bamboo forest sequester more carbon than wild bamboo and the same as fast-growing tropical trees like eucalyptus. Cultivation: minor global crop. Management: managed multistem (Describes the non-destructive management systems that are used in cultivation) [1-1]. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 9 through 5. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. An evergreen. The plant growth habit is a runner spreading indefinitely by rhizomes or stolons [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

Carbon Farming

  • Fodder: Bank  Fodder banks are plantings of high-quality fodder species. Their goal is to maintain healthy productive animals. They can be utilized all year, but are designed to bridge the forage scarcity of annual dry seasons. Fodder bank plants are usually trees or shrubs, and often legumes. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants.
  • Management: Managed Multistem  Regularly removing some multiple stems. A non-A non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Wild Crop  Some wild plants have strong historical or contemporary use. Although they are not cultivated crops, they may be wild-managed.

References

Temperature Converter

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Propagation

Seed - surface sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse at about 20°c. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination usually takes place fairly quickly so long as the seed is of good quality, though it can take 3 - 6 months. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded place in the greenhouse until large enough to plant out. Bamboos only flower at intervals of several years and so seed is rarely available. Division in late spring as new growth commences. Take divisions with at least three canes in the clump, trying to cause as little root disturbance to the main plant as possible. Grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse in pots of a high fertility sandy medium. Mist the foliage regularly until plants are established. Plant them out into their permanent positions when a good root system has developed, which can take a year or more[200]. Rhizome cuttings. Basal cane cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Canebrake bamboo, Cane reed, Giant cane, Giant cane bamboo.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Australia, Britain, Europe, North America, USA [1-4]. The USDA database lists Arundinaria gigantea (Canebrake bamboo ) as native to some of the L48 (Lower 48 States). Native to river banks, moist bottomlands, swampy areas and bogs from Florida to Texas north to Kansas, southern Illinois and New York [2-2].

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Arundinaria sppRunning BambooBamboo10.0 4-10 FLMHFSNM314
Semiarundinaria fastuosaNarihiradake, Narihira bambooBamboo7.5 6-9 SLMHSNM502
Semiarundinaria murielaeUmbrella BambooBamboo4.0 6-9 SLMHSNM00 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

(Walter.)Muhl.

Botanical References

1143200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Kerrigan, W.B.   Wed Aug 25 19:00:55 2004

Another common name for this plant in Native American communities is River Cane or Rivercane. Used in basket weaving of particularnote by the Cherokee peoples of the southeastern US.

Link: angelfire.com basketry grasses defined

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