Arundo donax

Arundo donax , giant cane , is a tall perennial cane growing in damp soils, or fresh or moderately saline. It is one of the many species of so-called reed . Other common names includeCarrizo , Arundo , Spanish cane , Colorado river reed , wild cane , and giant reed .

Arundo donax is native to the Mediterranean Basin and middle east Asia , [1] and probably also parts of Africa and southern Arabian Peninsula . It has been widely grown in the subtropical and tropical regions (Herrera & Dudley 2003), especially in the Mediterranean , California , the western Pacific and the Caribbean . [2] [3] It forms dense stands on disturbed sites, sand dunes, wetlands and riparian habitats.


Arundo donax generally grows to 6 meters (20 ft), in ideal conditions it can exceed 10 meters (33 ft), with hollow stems 2 to 3 centimeters (0.79 to 1.18 in) diameter. The leaves are alternate, 30 to 60 centimeters (12 to 24 in) long and 2 to 6 centimeters (0.79 to 2.36 in) wide with a tapered tip, gray-green, and have a hairy tuft at the base. Overall, it resembles an outsize common reed ( Phragmites australis ) or a bamboo (subfamily Bambusoideae).

Arundo donax flowers in late summer, upright bearing, feathery feathers 40 to 60 centimeters (16 to 24 in) long, that are usually seedless or with seeds that are rarely fertile. Instead, it mostly reproduces vegetatively, by underground rhizomes . The rhizomes are tough and fibrous and form knotty, spreading deep into the soil up to 1 meter (3.3 ft) deep (Alden et al., 1998, Mackenzie, 2004). Stem and rhizome pieces less than 5 centimeters (2.0 in) long and containing a single node under a variety of conditions (Boose and Holt, 1999). This vegetative growth seems to be adapted to floods, which may break up individual A. donax clumps, spreading the pieces, which may further colonize further downstream (Mackenzie 2004).


Arundo donax (L.) is a tall, perennial C 3 grass species belongs to the subfamily Arundinoideae of the Poaceae family . The hollow stems , 3 to 5 cm thick, have a cane-like appearance similar to bamboo . Mature stands can reach up to 8 m. Stems produced during the first growing season are unbranched and photosynthetic . It is an asexually reproducing species due to seed sterility. [4] It needs to be established by vegetative propagation , due to a lack of viable seed production. Underground it produces an extensive network of broad, rhizome like bulbs , and fibrous taproots . In the Mediterranean , Where’s temperate climate is warm and dry by caractérisée summer and mild winter , giant reed new shoots emerge around March, Rapidly growing in June – July and Producing stems and leaves . From late July the lower leaves start to dry, DEPENDING to seasonal temperature patterns. Crop drying accelerates during autumn when anthesisOctober to the end of November. In this phenological stage moisture contents fall significantly. In winter -time giant reed stops its growth because of low temperatures and regrowth occurs in the following springtime. In Central Europe, it is important to keep in mind that it is an annual energy crop for the low soil temperature and poor freeze tolerance of rhizomes . The base growth temperature is 7 ° C, [5] and maximum cut-off is at 30 ° C. It has a high photosynthetic capacity, associated with lack of light saturation.Carbon dioxide exchange rates is high Compared to other C 3 and C 4 species. Under natural conditions, the maximum CO 2 uptake ranged Between 19.8 and 36.7 micromol m -2 s -1 , DEPENDING one irradiance , leaf age, and it is regulated by leaf conductance. [6]

Genetic background

In most areas where giant reed grows ( Mediterranean area and US ), viable seeds are not produced. [7] On the other hand, sterility is an obstacle for breeding programs which aims to increase productivity and biomass quality for energy conversion. [8] Asexual reproduction drastically reduced genetic variability. It is Reported That sterility of giant reed is as a result of a failure of the megaspore mother cell to divide. [9] A total of 185 clones of A. donax were collected from California to South Carolinaand genetically fingerprinted with the SRAP and TE-based markers. [10] Giant reed exhibited in the field of genetic variation despite the wide genomic coverage of the markers used in this study. The molecular data strongly points to a single genetic clone of A. donax in the United States , with multiple introductions of this plant in the United States . Another study was conducted in the Mediterranean area on a sampling of different sites, and a low gene diversity was detected. Results indicate the occurrence of post- meioticalterations in the ovum and pollen developmental pathway. AFLP data support a monophyletic origin of giant reed and suggests that it originated in Asia and spread to the Mediterranean Basin .


Giant reed is adapted to a wide variety of ecological conditions, but is associated with riparian and wetland systems. It is distributed across the southern United States from Maryland to California . Plants can grow in a variety of soils, from heavy clays to loose sands and gravelly soils, but prefer wet drained soils, where they produce monotypic dense stands. In soil contaminated with arsenic , cadmium and lead , a strong metal-tolerance, with a limited metal translocation from roots to shoots. [11]In this study, it is underlined that accumulation of As, Cd and Pb in shoots of giant reed is low, while metal concentration in roots is high, and the anatomical characteristics of stem tissue are thick and homogeneous according to SEMimage. In Pakistan , Where the detection of arsenic in ground waters HAS threatened This is the use of groundwater as major source of drinking water, a research highlight highlighted the phytoremediation potential of A. donax When grown in hydroponics Containing crops arsenic up to 1000 μ g l -1 . [12]Giant reed Was ble to translocate the metals absorbed into the shoot and to accumulate metals in the stalk and leaves above-the root concentration without showing toxic effects Any Have up to concentration of 600 μ g l -1 . Furthermore, the plant is not consumed by herbivores , has a positive trait in phytoremediation plants.

Carbon sequestration

An increased environmental impact is one of the main factors affecting quality and productivity of agroecosystems. Around the world, several regions are subject to a decline in fertility due to an increasing degradation of soils, loss of organic matter and increasing desertification. [13] In the same pedological and climatic conditions, the impact of three long-term (14 years) agricultural systems, the continuous giant reed, the natural grassland, and the cropping sequence, on the organic-matter characteristics and microbial biomass size in soil. [14]The study pointed out that a long-term reduction of the body weight, characterized by low intensity, positively affects the amount and quality of organic matter. Arundo donax greater greater greater greater greater for for for for for for for for for for for for for for for for for for for for for for Regarding the humification parameters, there is a statistically difference between giant reed and a cropping sequence (cereals-vegetables conventionally cultivated).

Management in riparian habitats

Arundo is a highly invasive plant in southwestern North American rivers, and its promotion as a biofuel in other regions is of great concern to environmental scientists and land managers. [15] Arundo donax was introduced from the Mediterranean to California in the 1820s for drainage and drainage in the Los Angeles area (Bell 1997, Mackenzie 2004). Through spread and subsequent plantings have an ornamental plant , and for use as reeds in woodwind instruments It has naturalized Become Throughout warm coastal freshwaters of North America , and Its continuous ranks to spread. It has been planted widely through South America andAustralasia (Boose and Holt 1999, Bell 1997) and in New Zealand is listed under the National Pest Plant Agreement as an “unwanted organism”. [16] Despite its invasive characteristics in regions around the world where it is not native, Arundo is being promoted by the energy industry as a bio-fuel crop. Some of the regions, such as the United States have natural disturbances, such as hurricanes and floods, that could widely disperse this plant.

It is among the fastest-growing terrestrial plants in the world (nearly 10 centimeters (3.9 in) / day; Dudley, 2000). To present knowledge, Arundo does not provide any food sources or nesting habitats for wildlife. Replacement of native plant communities by Arundo results in low-quality habitat and altered ecosystem functioning (Bell 1997, Mackenzie 2004). For example, it damages California’s riparian ecosystems by outcompeting native species, such as willows, for water. A. donax stems and leaves contain a variety of harmful chemicals, including silica and various alkaloids , which protect it from most insect herbivores and endangering wildlife from feeding (Bell 1997, Miles et al., 1993, Mackenzie 2004). Grazing animals such as cattle, sheep , and goats may be affected , but are unlikely to be kept under control (Dudley 2000).

Arundo donax appears to be highly adapted to fires. It is highly flammable throughout the year, and it can increase the probability, intensity, and spread of wildfires through the riparian environment, changing the communities from flood-defined to fire-defined communities. [17] After fires, A. donax rhizomes can resprout quickly, outgrowing native plants, which can be found in large stands of A. donax along riparian corridors (Bell 1997, Scott 1994). Fire events thus push the system further towards mono-specific stands of A. donax .

A waterside plant community dominated by A. donax may also have reduced canopy shading of the in-stream habitat, which may result in increased water temperatures. This may lead to reduced oxygen concentrations and lower diversity of aquatic animals (Bell 1997).

As the impact of Arundo donax has increased in the environment and native species, various efforts have been taken to reduce its population. It has few natural enemies in its introduced range. Several Mediterranean insects have been imported into the United States and biological control agents (Bell 1997, Miles et al 1993, Mackenzie 2004, Goolsby 2007). The Arundo wasp, Tetramesa romana , the insect scale Arundo, Rhizaspidiotus donacis , and the Arundo fly, Cryptonevra are known to have some effect in damaging the plant. Tetramesa romana and more recently Rhizaspidiotus donacisis were registered in the US as biological control agents.

Other remedies like using mechanical strength-have-been employed aussi, since outside native ict ranks Arundo donax does not reproduce by seeds, so Removing ict root structure can be effective at controlling it. It also prevents it from becoming deadly (Mackenzie 2004). Systemic herbicides and glyphosate are also used as chemical remedies.

The US Department of Homeland Security considers this plant invasive and in 2007 to initiate researching biological controls. [18] In 2015, Texas Senator Carlos Uresti passed legislation to create a program to eradicate Arundo donax using herbicides and the Arundo wasp. [19]

Invasive species

In New Zealand ‘s northernmost region , Arundo donax crowds out native plants, [20] reduces wildlife habitat, contributes to higher fire frequency and intensity, and modifies river hydrology.


Energy crop

Energy crops are plants which are produced with the help of their biomass energetically [21] and at the same time. Biofuels derived from lignocellulosic plant material represent an important renewable energy alternative to fossil fuel transportation. [22] Perennial rhizomatous grasses display several positive attributes as energy crops because of their high productivity, low nutrient inputs to the recycling of nutrients by their rhizomes , exceptional soil carbon sequestration – 4X switchgrass , multiple products, adaptation tosaline soils and saline water , and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses .

Giant reed is one of the most promising crops for energy production in the Mediterranean climate of Europe and Africa, where it has shown advantages as an agricultural crop (already adapted to the environment ), sustainable yields , and resistant to long drought periods. Several field studies-have highlight highlighted the beneficial effect of giant reed crop on the environment due to ict minimum soil tillage , fertilizer and pesticide needs. Furthermore, it offers protection against soil erosion , [23]one of the most important land degradation processes in Mediterranean and US environments. A. donax bioenergy feedstock has an impressive potential for several conversion processes. Dried biomass has a direct combustion high value of 3,400 kJ / kg (8,000 BTU / lb). In Italy , Arundo donax was used in one instance from 1937 to 1962 on a large-scale industrial basis for paper and dissolving pulp . This interest was stimulated primarily by the desire of the dictatorship, just before World War II , to be independent of foreign sources of textile fibers and the desire for an export product. [24]According to Snia Viscosa , 6,300 ha in Torviscosa ( Udine ), reaching the annual average production of 35 t ha -1 . [25] Today Several screening studies are energy crops -have-been the carried out by Several Universities in US as well as in US to evaluate-and Identify Best Management Practices for Maximizing biomass yields and environmental impacts for Assessment.


Establishment is a critical point of cultivation. Stem and rhizome can be used for clonal propagation . The use of rhizomes has been better propagated for this species, achieving better survival rate. [26] In this field, it was reported that the highest density (12,500 rhizomes ha -1 ) resulted in planting (25,000 rhizomes ha -1 ). Seedbed preparation is conducted in the spring, immediately before planting, with a double-disk harrowing and a pass with a field cultivator . Giant reed has the possibility of adopting low plant density. The rhizomes were planted at 10-20 centimeters (3.9-7.9 in) of soil depth, with a minimum plant density of 10 000 plants per ha ), while mature stems , with two or more nodes, can be planted 10-15 centimeters ( 3.9-5.9 in) deep. In order to Ensure good root stand and adequate touch with the soil , moisture is needed Sufficient time immediately after-planting. Pre-plant fertilizer is distributed according to the initial soil fertility , but usually an application ofP at a rate of 80-100 kilograms (180-220 lb) ha -1 is applied.

A. donax maintains a high productive ability without irrigation under semi-arid climate conditions. In South Italy , a comparison of the results of the yield of 39 genotypes , and an average yield of 22.1 t ha -1 dry matter in the second year were reached, [27] compared with results obtained in Spain (22.5 t ha -1 ) in South Greece (19.0 t ha -1 ). Several reports underlined that it is more economical to grow giant reed under moderateirrigation .

In order to evaluate-different management practices, nitrogen fertilizer and input demand Was Evaluated in a 6-year field study Conducted at the University of Pisa . Fertilizer enhanced the productive capacity in the early years, but as the years go by and the radical apparatus progressively deepens, the differences due to fertilizer decline until disappearing. Harvest time and plant density are not affected by biomass yields .

Due to its high growth rate and superior resource-capture capacity (light, water and nutrients), A. donax is not affected by the competition of the second year. An application of post-emergence treatment is usually recommended. Giant reed has few known diseases or insect pest , but in intensive cultivation no pesticides are used.

To remove giant reed at the end of crop cycle, there are two methods: mechanical or chemical. [28] An excavator can be used to dig up the rhizomes or alternatively a single late-season application of 3% glyphosate onto the foliar mass is efficient and effective with least hazardous to biota. [29] Glyphosate was selected as the most appropriate product after specific considerations on efficacy, environmental safety, soil residual activity, operator safety, application timing, and cost-effectiveness. However, glyphosate is only effective when they are actively transporting nutrients to the root zone, and multiple retreatments are usually needed. Other herbicides registered for aquatic use can be very effective in controlling Arundo at other times of the year.


Arundo donax is a strong candidate for a renewable source because of its fast growth rate and its ability to grow in different types of climatic conditions. A. donax will produce an average of three kilograms of biomass per square meter (25 tons per acre) clarification needed ] once established. [30] The energy density of the biomass produced is 17 MJ / Kg regardless of fertilizer use. [30] Outside its native range, this needs to be balanced against its major invasive potential.

Studies in the European Union have identified A. donax as the most productive and least impact of all energy biomass crops (see FAIR REPORT EU 2004).

Arundo donax ‘ s ability to grow for 20 to 25 years without replanting is also significant.

In the UK it is considered suitable for planting in and around water areas. [31]

Arundo donax grown in Australia has been shown to be successful feedstock for biofuels through hydrothermal liquefaction . [32]


Studies-have found this plant to be rich in active tryptamine compounds, goal there are more indications of the plants in India HAVING thesis compounds than in the United States . [33] Toxins such as bufotenidine [34] and gramine [33] have also been found.

0.007% DMT , 0.026% bufotenine , 0.0023% 5-MeO-MMT. [33] The flowers are also known to have DMT and the 5-methoxylated N-demethylated analogue, also 5-MeO-NMT . The quite toxic quaternary methylated salt of DMT, bufotenidine, [33] has been found in the flowers, and the cyclic dehydrobufotenidine has been found in the roots. citation needed ] A. donax is also known to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mainly isoprene . [35]


Arundo donax has been cultivated throughout Asia, southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians wrapped their dead in the leaves. The canes contain silica , perhaps the reason for their durability, and have been used to make fishing rods , and walking sticks . citation needed ] Its stiff stems are also used as support for climbing plants or for vines . quote needed ]

This plant may have been used in combination with harmal ( Peganum harmala ) to create a brew similar to the South American ayahuasca , and may trace its roots to the Soma of lore . [36]


Mature reeds are used as a raw material, given their excellent properties and tubular shape. Its Arundo is more flexible.

In rural areas of Spain, for centuries there is existed a technique called cañizo , consisting of rectangles of approximately 2 by 1 meters of woven reeds to which clay or plaster could be added. A properly insulated cañizo in a roof could keep its mechanical properties for over 60 years. Its high silicon content allows the cane to keep its qualities through time. Its low weight, flexibility, good adhesion of the cañizo fabric and low price of the raw material-have-been the hand Reasons That made this technology possible, to our days. However, in the last decades of the rural migration from rural areas and the extensive exploitation of land. This has been seriously undermined.

Recently, initiatives are being taken to recover from this material, combining ancient techniques from southern Iraq mudhif (reed houses) with new materials.

Diverse and collective associations, such as CanyaViva, are pioneering in the research in combination with Spanish universities.

Musical instruments

Ancient Greeks used cane (called Kalamos: A. donax) to make flutes, known as kalamavlos; this is a compound word, from kalamos (cane) + avlos (flute). At the time, the best cane for flutes came from the banks of the river Kephissos, in Attica, Greece. Several kalamavlos tuned differently and tied together, made in syrinx or Panpipes. A. donax is still the main source of material reed makers for clarinets , saxophones , oboes , bassoons , bagpipes , and other woodwind instruments. [37] The Var country in southern France contains the best-known supply of instrument reeds.

Additionally, giant reed has been used to make flutes for over 5,000 years. The pan pipes consist of ten or more pipes made from the cane. Also the ancient end-blown ney flute is made from the same reeds.

Other uses

When young, A. donax is readily browsed by ruminants, but becomes unpalatable when maturing. [38]



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