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Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2020-12-08 20:08 UTC (austein.mcloughlin@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2020-12-08 20:08 UTC (austein.mcloughlin@cbd.int)

Organism information
Scientific name
Arundo donax
Taxonomic Classification
SpeciesArundo donax
Common name(s)
Giant reed
Additional Classification
Type of organism
Organism domestication
  • Wild
Characteristics related to biosafety
Centre(s) of origin
Thought to be native to East Asia.
Habitat range
Extremely tolerant to environmental conditions with the exception of higher elevations and regions that receive frost. Tolerates wide variety of soils, water levels (even standing water) and heavy metals.
Geographical distribution
Cultivated in Asia, southern Europe and Northern Africa for thousands of years. Introduced to Pacific and the Americas as an ornamental plant and is now widespread in temperate and tropical climates.
Common use(s)
  • Ornamental
  • Fiber/textile
  • Soil erosion
  • Materials
Additional Information
Additional Information
Arundo donax is listed as one of the 100 world's worst invasive alien species due to its aggressive growth, environmental tolerance and long life (over 40 years). The reed can reached heights of 10 meters. Vegetative reproduction appears to be principle means for population expansion through rhizome extension or plant fragments carried downstream (root formation can occur on plant fragments). Once established, the giant reed can form colonies spanning several acres. Sexual reproduction may not be important for this species as most specimens do not produce viable seeds. Even when green, the plants are highly flammable.

A. donax has been cultivated as a source of materials for instruments (flutes, pipes, etc.), building materials, materials for basket weaving and fuelwood. The reed was introduced to other areas as an ornamental plant and to stabilize soils against erosion. Other potential applications include carbon sequestration, source of fibre (pulp and paper, rayon) and use as an energy crop. Medically, the reed has been used as a sudorific, a diuretic, a diaphoretic, an emollient, a galactofuge and an anti-lactant in the treatment of dropsy. Isolated alkaloids may also raise blood pressure and contract the intestine. Phytocompounds may also have anti-carcinogenic properties.

The reed contains a base chromosome number of 12. However, various ploidy levels have been reported. Genetic diversity is expected to be low due to the vegetative propagation of the reed. Thus far, the chloroplast is the only genome to be completely sequenced (GenBank: KX109945.1). De novo assembly of the transcriptome has occurred.

Records referencing this document (1)
1record(s) found
Gene and DNA Sequence1 record