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Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Grasses Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Human for scale on Giant Reed

General: Giant Reed (Arundo donax) is the tallest grass in the Mojave Desert, looking more like bamboo than a typical grass. The canes grow to almost 25-feet tall, and the leaves get to 3-feet long.

Giant Reed is an uncommon component of wet vegetation associations (wetlands, along washes and rivers) in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones. Around Las Vegas, keep an eye out for this species around wet areas. Land managers are actively working to eradicate Giant Reed, so hopefully you won't see it anywhere. Giant Reed is the #2 "Priority Weed of Concern" in the Lower Las Vegas Wash, and it is on the Lake Mead NRA "Top 10 Invasive Species" list.

This is a noxious weed. If hikers and other visitors to the native habitats around Las Vegas see this species, please report the observation to the Nevada Department of Agriculture using their online forms. If you have this species on your private property, please consider eradicating it.

Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Large, broad leaves.

Family: Grass (Poaceae).

Other Names:

Plant Form: Tall, perennial grass forming dense stands.

Height: Over 20 feet.

Stems: Stem tall, erect, round, hollow.

Leaves: Alternate, 2-ranked, linear; blades to 3-feet long, 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Base of the leaves has a collar, which is a useful characteristic to separate this species from Common Reed. The ligule is thinly membranous and has a small fringe.

Giant Reed (Arundo donax)

Flowers: Blooms July through November. Inflorescence panicle-like, to 2-feet long, plume-like, oblong.

Seeds: North American plants do not produce viable seeds.

Habitat: Pond edges, springs, stream edges, riverbanks, and other wet areas.


Distribution: Worldwide.

Comments: Giant Reed is noxious weed in the state of Nevada.

Giant Reed (Arundo donax) Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
The ligule is thinly membranous and has a small fringe
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Leaf blade broad and almost 3-feet long
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
A good photo of the collar on a Giant Reed leaf
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Second-year stems develop branches (arrows) [not in Common Reed]
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Large, hollow stems
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Leaves opposite
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Ligule short and membranous
Giant Reed (Arundo donax)
Tuft of hairs at the edge of the collar

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 141118

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