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Useful Temperate Plants

Arundinaria gigantea

(Walter) Muhl.

Poaceae


There has been much disagreement as to whether there are one or two species of Arundinaria in N. America. We are following the treatment in the Flora of N. America[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
] which treats Arundinaria gigantea in the narrow sense and recognizes Arundinaria tecta as a distinct species[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Arundinaria bambusina (Fisch.) Trin.

Arundinaria macrosperma Michx.

Arundo gigantea Walter

Bambusa hermannii E.G.Camus

Ludolfia macrosperma (Michx.) Willd.

Miegia arundinacea Torr. ex Munro

Miegia arundinaria Raf.

Miegia gigantea (Walter) Nutt.

Miegia macrosperma (Michx.) Pers.

Nastus macrospermus (Michx.) Raspail

Triglossum bambusinum Fisch.

Common Name: Giant Cane

Arundinaria gigantea
Plant growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Gerrit Davidse
Creative Commons License
Arundinaria gigantea Arundinaria gigantea Arundinaria gigantea Arundinaria gigantea Arundinaria gigantea

General Information

Arundinaria gigantea is an evergreen bamboo with elongated rhizomes forming loose clumps of erect canes 200 - 500cm tall, exceptionally to 800cm in areas with warm winters. The thin-walled canes are 20 - 75mm in diameter. The plant can spread quickly to form large, virtually monocultural colonies. Plants can be deciduous in the colder, northern part of its range[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
,
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It has a valuable role to play in stabilizing soils, especially along rivers, and in mitigating the effects of flood waters. It is sometimes grow in gardens, where it can be used as a hedge.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Southeastern N. America - Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Oklahoma to North Carolina, Florida and Texas

Habitat

Forms dense thickets along riverbanks, in swamps and low woods[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
]. Found on all types of soil; at elevations from sea level to 600 metres[
195
Title
The Book of Bamboo
Publication
 
Author
Farrelly. D.
Publisher
Sierra Club.
Year
1984
ISBN
0-87156-825-X
Description
Very readable, giving lots of information on the uses of bamboos, both temperate and tropical.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Bamboo
Height4.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Some reports say that this plant is only hardy in the milder regions of the temperate zone[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
25
Title
Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Lawson.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
Fairly comprehensive, it was once the standard work but is now rather dated. Deals with species hardy in Britain, giving cultivation details and some uses.
] though another report says that the roots are hardy to about -30°c if they are heavily mulched[
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
].
Succeeds in full sun or dappled shade in warm, humid, damp conditions[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Plants can tolerate up to 80% shade in woodland - spreading rapidly to colonize the area if the tree cover is removed[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
]. Prefers an open loam of fair quality and a position sheltered from cold drying winds[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
25
Title
Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Lawson.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
Fairly comprehensive, it was once the standard work but is now rather dated. Deals with species hardy in Britain, giving cultivation details and some uses.
]. Succeeds on peaty soils. Requires abundant moisture and plenty of organic matter in the soil[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. Plants are intolerant of drought[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].
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
Title
Manual of the Grasses of the United States
Publication
 
Author
Hitchcock. A. S.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1971
ISBN
0-486-22717-0
Description
A nice and comprehensive flora, though a bit dated. Good line drawings of each plant, plus a brief idea of the habitat and a few notes on plant uses. Not for the casual reader.
].
The rootstock is running, forming new shoots from late Spring[
25
Title
Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Lawson.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
Fairly comprehensive, it was once the standard work but is now rather dated. Deals with species hardy in Britain, giving cultivation details and some uses.
].
Bamboos have an interesting method of growth. Each plant produces a number of new stems annually - these stems grow to their maximum height in their first year of growth, subsequent growth in the stem being limited to the production of new side branches and leaves. In the case of some mature tropical species the new stem could be as much as 30 metres tall, with daily increases in height of 30cm or more during their peak growth time. This makes them some of the fastest-growing species in the world[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
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
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 1. 1979 - 1980.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants. A good article on the flowering of bamboos.
].
Top growth can be killed by fire, but the root system usually survives and resprouts freely after the fire[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].
This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Young shoots - cooked[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
22
Title
Alternative Foods.
Publication
 
Author
Sholto-Douglas. J.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Used as a pot-herb[
236
Title
Manual of the Grasses of the United States
Publication
 
Author
Hitchcock. A. S.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1971
ISBN
0-486-22717-0
Description
A nice and comprehensive flora, though a bit dated. Good line drawings of each plant, plus a brief idea of the habitat and a few notes on plant uses. Not for the casual reader.
].

Seed - cooked[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
161
Title
Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
Publication
 
Author
Yanovsky. E.
Publisher
U.S. Depf of Agriculture.
Year
 
ISBN
-
Description
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
]. It can be used as a wheat substitute[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
], for which it is not much inferior[
213
Title
Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
Publication
 
Author
Weiner. M. A.
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Year
1980
ISBN
0-449-90589-6
Description
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
], but it is rather small and difficult to collect in quantity[
159
Title
Wild Food Plants of Indiana.
Publication
 
Author
McPherson. A. and S.
Publisher
Indiana University Press
Year
1977
ISBN
0-253-28925-4
Description
A nice pocket guide to this region of America.
]. The plants only flower at irregular intervals of several years.

Medicinal

The root is cathartic. A decoction has been used to stimulate the kidneys and 'renew strength'[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

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
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. The extense growth of the plant provides streambank stabilization, sediment retention, and bioaccumulation of nutrients and toxins[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].
So long as it can be restrained, the plant makes an excellent, dense hedgeor screen[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].

Other Uses

The canes are used as pipe-stems, are woven into baskets and mats plus a variety of other purposes[
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
,
236
Title
Manual of the Grasses of the United States
Publication
 
Author
Hitchcock. A. S.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1971
ISBN
0-486-22717-0
Description
A nice and comprehensive flora, though a bit dated. Good line drawings of each plant, plus a brief idea of the habitat and a few notes on plant uses. Not for the casual reader.
].
The hollow stems can be made into flutes[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

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
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Rhizome cuttings.
Basal cane cuttings.

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