Biology, Control and Invasive Potential of Giant Reed (Arundo donax L.) in Florida
Arundo donax, or giant reed
view on EDIS


Forest Vegetation Management
Poaceae (taxonomic family)


How to Cite

Minogue, Patrick, and Seth Wright. 2016. “Biology, Control and Invasive Potential of Giant Reed (Arundo Donax L.) in Florida: FOR328/FR396, 3/2016”. EDIS 2016 (2):5.


Arundo donax (L.), also known as giant reed, is a tall, fast-growing, bamboo-like grass that under ideal conditions can reach a height of up to 30 feet and a stem diameter up to 1.5 inches. Giant reed is invasive and difficult to control and has caused economic losses in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. This species was introduced to Florida over 100 years ago and is currently naturalized in at least 26 of the 67 Florida counties. So far, giant reed has not proved problematic in Florida, but recent permitting of its planting for bioenergy feed stock may increase the risk that it could naturalize into plant communities in Florida and other southeastern states and potentially cause economic losses as well as harm to native species and habitats. This 5-page fact sheet describes the biology of this species and explains some strategies for its control. Written by Pat Minogue and Seth Wright and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, March 2016.

FOR328/FR396: Biology, Control and Invasive Potential of Giant Reed (Arundo donax L.) in Florida (
view on EDIS


Allred, K.W. 2003. Arundo. P. 11 In: Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 25. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.), Oxford University Press, New York.

Barney, J.N., and J.M. DiTomaso. 2008. "Nonnative species and bioenergy: Are we cultivating the next invader?" BioScience 58:1-7.

Bell, C.E. 2011. "Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) response to glyphosate and imazapyr." Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 49:111-113.

Bell, G. P. 1997. "Ecology and management of Arundo donax, and approaches to riparian habitat restoration in Southern California." In: Plant Invasion: Studies from North America and Europe. J.H. Brock, M. Wade, P. Pysek and D. Green, eds. Leiden, the Netherlands: Backhuys, pp. 104-114. Accessed July 6, 2012 at:

Bhanwra, R.K. 1988. "Embryology in relation to systematics of Gramineae." Annals of Botany II. 62:215-233.

Boland, J.M. 2006. "The importance of layering in the rapid spread of Arundo donax (giant reed)." Madroño 53(4):303-12.[303:TIOLIT]2.0.CO;2

Boland, J. M. 2008. "The roles of floods and bulldozers in the break-up and dispersal of Arundo donax (giant reed)." Madroño 55(3), 216-222.

Boose, A.B., and J.S. Holt. 1999. "Environmental effects on asexual reproduction in Arundo donax." Weed Research 39:117-127.

Buddenhagen, C.E., C. Chimera, and P. Clifford. 2009. "Assessing biofuel crop invasiveness: A case study." PLoS ONE 4:35261.

Chimera, C.C., C.E. Buddenhagen, and P.M. Clifford. 2010. "Biofuels: the risks and dangers of introducing invasive species." Biofuels 1:785-596.

Davis, A.S., R.D. Cousens, J. Hill, R.N. Mack, D. Simberloff, and S. Raghu. 2010. "Screening bioenergy feedstock crops to mitigate invasion risk." Frontiers Ecol Environ 8:533-539.

DiTomaso, J.M., G.B. Kyser, et al. 2013. Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States. Weed Research and Information Center, University of California, Davis, CA. 544 pp.

Dudley, T.L. 2011. Global Invasive Species Database. Arundo donax. Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the World Conservation Union. Accessed July 6, 2012 at:

Dudley, T.L. 2000. Arundo donax. Pp. 53-58 In: Invasive plants in California's wildlands. Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall and M.C. Hoshovsky (eds.). University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Else, J. A. 1996. Post-flood establishment of native woody species and an exotic, Arundo donax, in a Southern California riparian system. Master's thesis. San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Accessed July 6, 2012 at:

Finnoff, D., J.F. Shogren, B. Leung and D. Lodge. 2007. "Take a risk: Preferring prevention over control of biological invaders." Ecol Econ 62:216-222.

Garland, M.A. 2003. Arundo donax risk assessment. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry memorandum. Gainesville, FL. 8 p. [To obtain copies contact:].

Iverson, M. E. 1994. The impact of Arundo donax on water resources. Arundo donax Workshop Proceedings. November, 1993, Ontario, CA. p 19-25. Accessed July 6, 2012 at:

Johnson, M., T. Dudley, and C. Burns. 2006. "Seed production in Arundo donax?" Cal-IPC News. 14:12-13. Accessed July 6, 2012 at:

Lawson, D. M., J. A. Giessow, and J. H. Giessow. 2005. "The Santa Margarita River Arundo donax control project: development of methods and plant community response." Pp. 229-244 In: USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-195. Albany, CA.

Lewandowski, I., J. M. O. Scurlock, E. Lindvall and M. Christou. 2003. "The development and current status of perennial rhizomatous grasses as energy crops in the US and Europe." Biomass and Bioenergy 25:335-361.

Loewenstein, N. 2005. "Review of giant reed (Arundo donax)." Alabama Invasive Plant Council. Accessed July 6, 2012 at:

Mariani, C., R. Cabrini, A. Danin, P. Piffanelli, A. Fricano, S. Gomarasca, M. Dicandilo F. Grassi, and C. Soave. 2010. "Origin, diffusion and reproduction of the giant reed (Arundo donax L.): a promising weedy energy crop." Annals of Applied Biology 157 (2):191-202.

Mack, R.N. 2008. "Evaluating the credits and debits of a proposed biofuel species: giant reed (Arundo donax)." Weed Science 56: 883-888.

McCormick, N. and G. Howard. 2013. "Beating back biofuel crop invasions: Guidelines on managing the invasion risk of biofuel developments." Renew Energ 49:263-266.

Perdue, R.E. 1958. "Arundo donax: source of musical reeds and industrial cellulose." Economic Botany 12:368-404.

Seawright, E. K. 2009. Select economic implications for the biological control of Arundo donax along the Rio Grande. MS Thesis, Texas A&M University. Accessed July 6, 2012 at:

Spencer, D. F., W. Tan, P.S. Liow, G.G. Ksander, L.C. Whitehand, S. Weaver, J. Olson, and M. Newhouser. 2008. "Evaluation of glyphosate for managing giant reed (Arundo donax L.)" Invasive Plant Science and Management 1:248-254.

Raghu S., R.C. Anderson, C.C. Daehle, A.S. Davis, R.N. Wiedenmann, D. Simberloff, and R.N. Mack. 2006. "Adding biofuels to the invasive species fire?" Science 313:1742.

Tucker, G. C. 1990. "The genera of Arundinoideae (Gramineae) in the southeastern United States." Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 71:145-177.

Wijte, A.H. B. M., T. Mizutani, E.R. Motamed, M.L. Merryfield, D.E. Miller and D.E. Alexander. 2005. "Temperature and endogenous factors cause seasonal patterns in rooting by stem fragments of the invasive giant reed, Arundo donax (Poaceae)." International Journal of Plant Science 166(3):507-517.

Witt, A.B.R. 2010. "Biofuels and invasive species from an African perspective-a review." GCB Bioenerg 2:321-329.

Wunderlin, R. P., and B.F. Hansen. 2012. Atlas of Florida vascular plants. Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. Accessed July 6, 2012 at: