Arundinaria gigantea

Common Name(s): Switch cane, giant cane

Native to Florida

Switch cane is one of three native species of Arundinaria. It might be encountered as dense stands in low-lying, shady, moist to wet areas. It is easily confused with non-native bamboos. Switch cane rarely flowers. Its leaves are a preferred food of caterpillars of the southern pearly eye butterfly. There is only one species of Arundinaria that occurs in Florida (Wunderlin, 1998). Switch cane can be found throughout much of the eastern half of the U.S., stretching from Texas to New York (Kartesz, 1999).

Switch cane is a large grass. Rhizomes stem-like; stems hard, “woody”, typically 5-6 feet tall (can grow to 25 ft. tall), branched; sheaths on stem branches loose, papery; leaf blades stalked, flat, lance-shaped, 4-12 inc. long, usually hairy above; sheaths on leaves overlapping, with several long bristles at top; inflorescence a single axis or with branches; spikelets stalked, solitary on branches, 8-12 flowers, flowers very infrequently.