Cane Reed (Arundinaria gigantea)

A. macrosperma. Arundo gigantea. Bambusa newmanii.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Cane Reed
Arundinaria gigantea

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].

  • Medicinal Use

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

  • Edible Use

    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.

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.