Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Canebrake Bamboo
Arundinaria gigantea

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arundinaria (ar-run-din-NAY-ree-a) (Info)
Species: gigantea (jy-GAN-tee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Arundinaria macrosperma
Synonym:Arundinaria gigantea subsp. gigantea

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By nick89
Thumbnail #1 of Arundinaria gigantea by nick89

By nick89
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By Hikaro_Takayama
Thumbnail #3 of Arundinaria gigantea by Hikaro_Takayama

By 1cros3nails4gvn
Thumbnail #4 of Arundinaria gigantea by 1cros3nails4gvn

By 1cros3nails4gvn
Thumbnail #5 of Arundinaria gigantea by 1cros3nails4gvn

By 1cros3nails4gvn
Thumbnail #6 of Arundinaria gigantea by 1cros3nails4gvn

By 1cros3nails4gvn
Thumbnail #7 of Arundinaria gigantea by 1cros3nails4gvn

There are a total of 8 photos.
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4 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive bambusalove On Jul 10, 2012, bambusalove from Lincolnia, VA wrote:

I live in northern VA, and I understand that the canebrake grows well here. I'm calling all the local nurseries and searching Craisglist for the canebrake - seems like no one carries it. I am somewhat disappointed at the fact that there is no particular interest in growing native plants and helping the ecosystem regain some balance.
Does somebody know where in the DC metro area I can buy canebrake? I will be very grateful to hear from you.

Positive Amoena On Oct 6, 2010, Amoena from Nashville, TN wrote:

This plant is very abundant in my area, forming dense colonies on moist hillsides and creek-banks. It is useful for controlling erosion in these circumstances. It seems to prefer part-shade, not growing well in full-shade or full-sun. Natural growth is fairly restrained, however wild plants transplanted to my garden, (rich soil and regular watering) have grown quite rapidly.

Positive redcamaro350ss On Dec 27, 2009, redcamaro350ss from Statesville, NC wrote:

This plant is a very valuable species for wildlife. Canebreaks are an important part of the southeast flora. Tolerant of fire and actually requires it (or some form of disturbance) for long term survival. All plants in an area will flower at the same time. Flowering usually only occurs once every 30 or so years. Seeing a canebreak flowering event is much like witnessing the periodical cicada emergence. It isn't possible to see a whole lot of these in one lifetime. Blooms are actually quite attractive considering it is a non-petaloid species. NOT an "invasive" species. But rather it is aggressive. Invasive would imply non-natives. It is possible for this plant to take over large areas.

Neutral 1cros3nails4gvn On Apr 8, 2007, 1cros3nails4gvn from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

this is an invasive native throughout South Carolina and spreads, but slowly. the old canes a wonderful stakes for plants and make good cane poles that my friends and i would cut and go fishing with whan we were little, but it was hard to find ones tall enough to use as good poles if youre much farther north of Columbia, but here in bluffton they easily reach 10 feet. also they make real mean switches for bad children (from experience) because i had a babysitter that made me pick one of these as my own switch and i never messed with that ol lady again

Neutral frostweed On Nov 30, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Canebrake Bamboo Arundinaria gigantea is native to Texas ans other States.

Positive Hikaro_Takayama On Apr 25, 2006, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I found some of this bamboo growing alongside the road outside of Chattanooga, TN, and dug up three small divisions (all of which survived). This plant has weathered its first zone 6 winter, with temps falling to -5 F overnight once with NO damage (all other bamboo I planted last year, even Z 6 hardy ones suffered at least minor leaf damage, and a few were larger, nursery dug divisions), so I'm thinking that what I have might be the famous Macon River Cane variety that can supposedly stand temps to -20 F.... Very unique and easy to grow native plant that I'd reccommend to anyone.

In addendum, there are two subspecies of A. gigantea (both of which I have): A. gigantea gigantea, which grows to heights between 10 and 30 ft and bears its flowers on the regular culms, and A. gigantea tecta, which is a dwarf subspecies that is between 3-8 ft tall, has air channels in the rhizomes, allowing it to grow in wet, waterlogged soil, and bears flowers on specialized flowering culms. Some varieties of A. gigantea tecta are deciduous (two of my A gigatea tecta plants, which were collected from behind my uncle's house in Wahalla, SC are of this variety).

Neutral nick89 On Feb 3, 2005, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Canebrake Bamboo, also known as Giant Cane, is a very common and conspicous bamboo in the southeast, forming the so-called "canebrakes" in southern woodlands. It is one of the few bamboos native to North America. Like most bamboos, it has a very long flowering cycle.

I have not grown it myself but there are extensive wild stands on my land. It is quite coarse in appearance due to the very conspicous white culms. Canebrake Bamboo is easily propagated from root divisions and can be somewhat invasive. I personally haven't seen any that are taller than 12 feet or so.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama
New Market, Alabama
Tuskegee, Alabama
Vista, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Trenton, Florida
Plainfield, Indiana
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Violet, Louisiana
Saucier, Mississippi
Statesville, North Carolina
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina
Pelion, South Carolina
Nashville, Tennessee
Lake Jackson, Texas
Alexandria, Virginia

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