Overview

Brief Summary

History in the United States

Bamboos are woody reed-like grasses that have a shrubby growth habit. The three species featured here are popular ornamentals that were introduced and planted widely but other species and cultivars are also available in the nursery trade. These species have been reported by numerous sources as being invasive in natural areas (see below). Giant or switch cane (Arundinaria gigantea) is the only species of bamboo native to the U.S. It is found throughout the Southeast just into southern Maryland and is about the size of Pseudosasa.

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Comprehensive Description

Arundinaria gigantea (Walter) Muhl.

Distribution

Wet pine flatwoods.

Notes

Apr–Jul . AI199Not seen in Shaken Creek Preserve (in the relevant habitats) by the senior author. Specimens seen in the vicinity: Sandy Run [Patterson]: Taggart SARU 564 (WNC!). [<RAB; = FNA, Weakley]

  • Thornhill, Robert, Krings, Alexander, Lindbo, David, Stucky, Jon (2014): Guide to the Vascular Flora of the Savannas and Flatwoods of Shaken Creek Preserve and Vicinity (Pender & Onslow Counties, North Carolina, U. S. A.). Biodiversity Data Journal 2, 1099: 1099-1099, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1099
Public Domain

Plazi

Source: Plazi.org

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Comments

Giant Cane is the tallest grass in Illinois, and it is the only bamboo that is native to the state. Amerindians used this woody grass for a variety of purposes, including the construction of buildings, blow guns, mats, and baskets. European settlers used it to make fishing poles, chair bottoms, shuttles, and musical instruments. The large hollow culms and fibrous leaves of older plants have a distinctive appearance that can't be confused with other grasses in the state.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This woody grass or bamboo becomes 4-24' tall. Primary culms are devoid of leaves below, while above they have ascending leafy branches. Primary culms are green, terete, hollow, glabrous, and up to 1" across (rarely more), becoming increasingly woody below. Secondary culms from lateral branches are similar to the primary culms, except they are more narrow (less than ¼" across). Most primary culms remain erect, although sometimes they bend sideways from the weight of their leaves and lateral branches, particularly when there is an absence of support from adjacent vegetation. Alternate evergreen leaves develop toward the apex of the primary culm and along its lateral branches. The blades of these leaves are 5-12" long, ¾-1½" across, and medium green; they are narrowly lanceolate to elliptic in shape and entire (smooth) along their margins, except for minute teeth. The leaf blades are glabrous to nearly glabrous along their upper surfaces, while their lower surfaces are glabrous to sparsely short-pubescent. The leaf blades have a tessellated appearance as a result of the smaller cross-veins that interconnect the parallel veins. The petioles of the leaves are short and slender (usually less than ¼" in length). Leaf sheaths are glabrous to sparsely short-pubescent, except toward their apices, where bristly hairs occur. Like other bamboo species, Giant Cane rarely flowers. When this occurs, either racemes or simple panicles of spikelets are produced from the apex of the primary culm and fertile lateral branches. Unlike sterile lateral branches (as described above), fertile lateral branches produce either bladeless sheaths or sheaths with rudimentary blades. Individual spikelets are 1¼-2½" long and 8 mm. (1/3") across, consisting of a pair of glumes at the bottom and 2 overlapping ranks of 6-14 lemmas above. The smaller glume is 2-6 mm. long, while the larger glume is 8-12 mm. long. The lemmas are 15-24 mm. long and keeled along their outer sides, tapering to acute tips or short awns (the latter up to 4 mm. in length). Individual grains are 10-12 mm. long and ellipsoid in shape. The blooming period occurs during the spring or summer. The florets of the spikelets are cross-pollinated by wind. Individual plants bloom only once when they are 10-20 years old, after which they die down. The root system produces long rhizomes, from which clonal colonies of plants are produced. This is the main method of reproduction.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

Giant cane is a native, warm season, robust, rhizomatous perennial grass. The height is between 4 and 20 feet. The leaf blade is 5 to 12 inches long, at least 1/2 inch wide, and tapers to a sharp point. Generally, it has groups of 3 to 5 blades at end of small branches and a short petiole between the blade and sheath. The leaf sheath is rounded and overlapping. The ligule is a row of short hair. The stem is hollow, woody. The seedhead is an open panicle with 8 to 12 spikelets per seedhead.

Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

cane, switchcane

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Giant Cane is native to southern Illinois, where it is occasional. Illinois lies along the northern range limit of this species. Populations of this grass within the state have declined as a result of development, and large colonies (or canebrakes) have become uncommon. Habitats include bottomland woodlands, flood-prone flatwoods, swamps and edges of swamps, low areas along rivers, bottoms and lower slopes of rocky canyons, and gravelly seeps. While fire will top-kill individual plants of Giant Cane, it is able to regenerate new plants from its extensive rhizomes. Occasional wildfires are beneficial in maintaining populations of this grass if they reduce competition from trees and large shrubs.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Cane occurs from southern New York south to central Florida and west to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois [18,58]. Plants Database provides a distributional map of cane and its infrataxa.

Infrataxa: Giant cane has a distribution similar to cane in general, but does not occur in New York. Switch cane has a distribution similar to that of cane throughout the Atlantic and Southern Coastal Plains, but it does not occur in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, or West Virginia [100].

  • 18. Connor, Kristina. 2004. Arudinaria gigantea. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 91-92. [52111]
  • 58. Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. 1999. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. In: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]
  • 100. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2007. PLANTS Database, [Online]. Available: http://plants.usda.gov/ [2007, February 22]. [34262]

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States or Provinces

(key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES
AL AR DE FL GA IL IN KS KY LA
MD MS MO NJ NY NC OH OK SC TN
TX VA WV              

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [3]:

None
  • 3. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]

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Distribution and Habitat in the United States

These species of bamboo have been reported to be invasive in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast as well as some sites in the western and southwestern U.S. Infestations are commonly associated with new and very old residences from which they’ve escaped.

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Origin

Asia

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: caryopsis

This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification of cane are available (e.g. [48,64,77,97]).

Cane is a native, perennial, evergreen grass that grows to a height of 6.6 to 32.8 feet (2-10 m). The coarse stems are round and hollow, 0.7 to 3 inches (2-7.6 cm) thick, and generally survive for about 10 years. Leaves range from 3.9 to 11.8 inches (10-30 cm) in length and from 0.8 to 1.6 inches (2-4 cm) wide. The flowers are racemes or simple panicles with several spikelets 1.6 to 2.8 inches (4-7 cm) long and 0.3 inch (8 mm) wide. The fruit is a caryopsis, 0.3 inch (8 mm) long and 0.1 inch (3 mm) wide. Cane forms an extensive system of tough, thick rhizomes [18,48,51,64,77]. Rhizomes vary in size but rarely are larger than 0.75 inch (1.9 cm) in diameter [55].

Physiology:
Flooding―Cane has high flood tolerance and is well adapted to waterlogged soils and frequently flooded sites [14,18,62].

  • 77. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 97. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 14. Cirtain, Margaret C.; Franklin, Scott B.; Pezeshki, S. Reza. 2004. Effects of nitrogen and moisture regimes on Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. seedling growth. Natural Areas Journal. 24(3): 251-257. [62978]
  • 18. Connor, Kristina. 2004. Arudinaria gigantea. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 91-92. [52111]
  • 48. Hall, David W. 1978. The grasses of Florida. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 498 p. Dissertation. [53560]
  • 55. Hughes, Ralph H. 1966. Fire ecology of canebrakes. In: Proceedings, 5th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1966 March 24-25; Tallahassee, FL. No. 5. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 148-158. [16236]
  • 62. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17551]
  • 64. McClure, F. A. 1973. Genera of Bamboos native to the New World (Gramineae: Bambusoideae). In: Soderstrom, Thomas R., ed. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany No. 9. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 148 p. [65474]
  • 51. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165]

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Description and Biology

  • Plant: woody stems varying from about ¼ in. (arrow) to 3-4 in. diameter (common and golden) with hollow centers and solid joints; grow to heights of 7-8 ft. (arrow) to 16-40 ft. (common and golden).
  • Leaves: strap-shaped and tapering with pointed tips, tough, somewhat papery or leathery, up to 10 in. long and 1-2 in. across.
  • Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowering is infrequent and unpredictable; flowers are grasslike and not especially showy.
  • Spreads: by vegetative means through vigorous rhizomatous growth.
  • Look-alikes: other bamboos, including native giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) and some tall grasses.

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Physical Description

Perennials, Aquatic, growing in or on water, Aquatic, leaves emergent, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, Rhizome elongate, creeping, stems distant, Stems woody, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems solitary, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems compressed, flattened, or sulcate, Stems branching above base or distally at nodes, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with i nflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 2-6 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 6 m or taller, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves pseudo-petiolate, petiole attached to sheath, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaves borne on branches, Leaf blades disarticulating from sheath, deciduous at ligule, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades lanceolate, Leaves with distinct crossveins, net-like transverse veins, Leaf blade auriculate, Leaf auricules setose or ciliate, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blades 2 or more cm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades more or less hairy, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence racemose, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly paniculate, branches spreading, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomeru le, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence single raceme, fascicle or spike, Inflorescence with 2-10 branches, Inflorescence a single spikelet, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 3-7 florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel hairy, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes shorter than adjacent lemma, Glume surface hairy, villous or pilose, Glumes 4-7 nerved, Glumes 8-15 nerved, Lemma similar in texture to glumes, Lemma 8-15 nerved, Lemma body or surface hairy, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma awnless, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma distinctly awned, more than 2-3 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemm a straight, Callus or base of lemma evidently hairy, Callus hairs shorter than lemma, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea about equal to lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Palea auriculate or bowed out at base, Stamens 3, Styles 1, Stigmas 3, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, hilum long-linear.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Type Information

Type fragment for Arundinaria tecta var. distachya Rupr.
Catalog Number: US 2808999
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): T. Nuttall
Locality: Philadelphia., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North America
  • Type fragment: Ruprecht, F. J. 1839. Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. Saint-Petersbourg, Ser. 6, Sci. Math., Seconde Pt. Sci. Nat. 3 (1): 112.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Giant Cane is native to southern Illinois, where it is occasional. Illinois lies along the northern range limit of this species. Populations of this grass within the state have declined as a result of development, and large colonies (or canebrakes) have become uncommon. Habitats include bottomland woodlands, flood-prone flatwoods, swamps and edges of swamps, low areas along rivers, bottoms and lower slopes of rocky canyons, and gravelly seeps. While fire will top-kill individual plants of Giant Cane, it is able to regenerate new plants from its extensive rhizomes. Occasional wildfires are beneficial in maintaining populations of this grass if they reduce competition from trees and large shrubs.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: alliance, association, bog, codominant, cover, fern, hardwood, mesic, natural, series, shrub, shrubs, swamp, tree, xeric

Extensive monotypic stands of cane known as canebrakes were a dominant landscape
feature in the southeastern United States at the time of European settlement.
Historical accounts indicated that hundreds of thousands of acres were
characterized by this ecosystem. Canebrakes disappeared rapidly following
European settlement because of a combination of overgrazing, altered burning
regimes, and agricultural land clearing [7,73,74,88]. It is estimated that there has been a 98% decline
in canebrakes communities [14,69]. Today cane exists as an important understory
component in a variety of deciduous and evergreen forest and shrub types.

Schafale and Weakley [84] describe 2
plant communities in the wet pine flatwood forests of North Carolina in which
cane is a codominant: longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)/cane and loblolly
pine (P. taeda)/cane. These communities are similar in composition with a
sparse canopy of pines and a mid-story dominated by cane. The understory is
typically a mixture of shrubs, including inkberry (Ilex glabra), creeping
blueberry (Vaccinium crassifolium), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera),
and blue huckleberry (Gaylussacia frondosa); and grasses, including
pineland threeawn (Aristida stricta), cutover muhly (Muhlenbergia
expansa), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and toothache
grass (Ctenium aromaticum).
A cane shrubland alliance occurs on floodplains and alluvial soils in eastern
Oklahoma [52]. Common associates in this alliance include boxelder (Acer negundo),
river birch (Betula nigra),
smallspike false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica),
jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), northern spicebush (Lindera benzoin),
and eastern poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).
Kologski [60] describes a longleaf pine/cane community
type in the Green Swamp of the North Carolina coastal plain. This type is
described as a wetter pine savanna community.
In Missouri cane is a component of the swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii)-Shumard's
oak (Q. shumardii)- sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)/cane mesic
floodplain forest alliance [86].
Switch cane: Glitzenstein and others [40] describe a "globally rare" woodland association in
South Carolina of longleaf pine-switch cane-sweetgum-bushy bluestem
(Andropogon glomeratus)-hooded pitcher plant (Sarracenia minor).
In this association switch cane and bushy bluestem usually comprise the
majority of the plant cover, and the tree canopy cover is generally less than 10% [40].
A pond pine (P. serotina)/switchcane forest type occurs in the North
Carolina coastal plain where the pine overstory is typically scattered and
inkberry is an abundant shrub [54].
In addition to the plant communities discussed above, where cane is a dominant or codominant,
there are a variety of other communities in which cane occurs in
various levels of importance. Publications that discuss plant communities in which
cane and switch may occur are listed below. The list is neither restrictive nor all inclusive.
AL:


  • Cane―shortleaf pine (P. echinata)-hardwoods,
    southern red oak (Q. falcata)-mixed oak, chestnut oak (Q. prinus), loblolly
    pine-upland hardwoods, loblolly pine-lowland hardwoods, sweetgum-yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera),
    and swamp tupelo (Nyssa biflora)-sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana)
    forest types in the Clay Hills Region of the Hilly Coastal Plain Province [2]



  • bogs in the blackgum (N. sylvatica)-yellow-poplar-azalea
    (Rhododendron canescens) community type in broad swales that are
    often bisected by ephemeral streams



  • scarlet oak (Q. coccinea)-flowering
    dogwood (Cornus florida)-sweet goldenrod (Solidago odora)
    community type on upland sites and along perennial stream sites



  • mesic slash pine (P. elliottii)-longleaf pine-deerberry (V. stamineum)
    vegetation type in the southern loam hills [11]



  • sweetgum-water oak (Q. nigra)-red maple (Acer
    rubrum) stream bottom community type



  • white oak (Q. alba) mesic upland community type [43]



  • hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)-American beech
    (Fagus grandifolia) community type in the Warrior River basin [47]

FL:


  • Cane―hydric hammocks in a wetland forest type composed of live oak (Q. virginiana),
    laurel oak (Q. laurifolia), cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto),
    southern red-cedar (Juniperus silicicola), sweetgum, hornbeam (Carpinus
    caroliniana), loblolly pine, Florida elm (Ulmus americana var. floridana), and red maple [102]



  • cane often grows in association with the endangered
    conifer, Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia), in the oak-gum-cypress
    (Taxodium spp.) or oak-pine types in the Apalachicola River basin in northern Florida [95]

GA:


  • Cane―the following communities in the Okefenokee Swamp:
    island hammocks in association with water oak, willow oak (Q. phellos),
    and hairytwig huckleberry (G. tomentosa); and moist
    pine barrens in association with pond pine, longleaf pine, slash pine,
    sweetbay, maleberry (Lyonia ligustrina), and shiny blueberry (V. myrsinites) [112]

LA:


  • Cane―in the Cat Island Swamp in the Mississippi River
    floodplain, cane occurs in the transition zone between swamp and mesic
    forest in a community that is a combination of the maple/yellow-poplar/oak
    complex and the hackberry (Celtis spp.)/elm/ash (Fraxinus
    spp.) community [24]

MS:


  • Cane―the following sites in the Mississippi River
    alluvial plain: thick loess sites dominated by sweetgum, basswood (Tilia
    spp.), water oak, yellow-poplar, cherrybark oak (Q. pagoda), elm, and
    bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis); and thin loess sites dominated
    by American beech, blackgum, black oak (Q. velutina), sourwood (Oxydendrum
    arboreum), and sweetgum [10]



  • cane and dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) are
    primary species of the shrub layer in an old-growth forest in west-central
    Mississippi dominated by sweetgum and box elder [25]



  • pitcher plant (Sarracenia alata) bogs in southern Mississippi [29]

NC:


  • Cane―wet and mesic pine savannas in the Green Swamp; wet
    pine savannas have occasional individuals of pond pine, pond cypress
    (Taxodium distichum var. nutans), and swamp tupelo and mesic savannas have a tree canopy cover
    of longleaf pine that rarely exceeds 40% [60,89,104]



  • pocosin or bayland xeric shrub bog community of
    inkberry-southern bayberry (Morella carolinensis) and wax
    myrtle-swamp titi (Cyrilla racemiflora)



  • toothache grass-panicgrass (Dichanthelium
    spp.) association, a xeric grass-sedge bog community



  • meso-xeric pine association typified by
    scattered longleaf and loblolly pines and an understory dominated by
    inkberry and wax myrtle [105]



  • honeycup (Zenobia pulverulenta) association in shrub bogs [12]



  • in the greater sandhills region of south-central
    North Carolina, cane is commonly found along blackwater streams in Atlantic
    white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) swamps [66,84]



  • mesic mixed hardwood forests on moist upland soils
    dominated by American beech, yellow-poplar, southern sugar maple (A. barbatum), white oak, and sweetgum



  • rocky bar and shore habitats adjacent to rivers and
    streams with a sparse shrub and herb layer; typical shrubs include hazel
    alder (Alnus serrulata), common buttonbush (Cephalanthus
    occidentalis), and yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima); silky
    willow (Salix sericea), black willow (S. nigra) and
    sedges (Carex spp.) dominate the herb layer



  • coastal plain levee forests on natural levee and
    point bar ridge deposits dominated by a mixture of bottomland hardwoods
    including American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), sugarberry (Celtis
    laevigata), river birch, box elder, water hickory (Carya aquatica), and sweetgum



  • coastal plain hardwood forests on abandoned or
    natural levee deposits and point bar ridges dominated by laurel oak (Q. laurifolia),
    overcup oak (Q. lyrata), willow oak, water oak, red maple,
    loblolly pine, Atlantic white-cedar, and sweetgum



  • high pocosins typified by a dense shrub layer of
    fetterbush lyonia (L. lucida), swamp titi, inkberry, and laurel greenbriar (Smilax
    laurifolia)



  • pond pine woodlands, also called conifer-hardwood
    pocosin, where pond pine and loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus) are
    codominants in a open to nearly closed canopy [84]


  • Switch cane―the following communities in a tidewater swamp ecosystem
    on the Chewan River: the swamp tupelo-baldcypress (T. distichum)
    community, and the water tupelo (N. aquatica)-baldcypress-swamp tupelo community [1]

OK:



  • Cane―sugar maple (Acer saccharum)-white oak-mockernut
    hickory (Carya alba) forest association on floodplains and mesic slopes



  • sugar maple-boxelder forest association in stream
    margins and riparian corridors



  • river birch-American sycamore/hazel alder forest
    association in riparian corridors



  • American sycamore-boxelder forest association on wet
    to moist soils in floodplains



  • loblolly pine-sweetgum forest association in floodplains [52]

SC:


  • Cane―floodplain hardwood forest along the eastern edge of
    the Savannah River; overstory includes southern red oak, swamp chestnut oak,
    overcup oak, white oak, willow oak, laurel oak, sweetgum, red maple, and
    elms; understory includes dwarf palmetto [59]


  • Switch
    cane―
    in loblolly pine flatwoods of the lower coastal
    plain, switch cane is abundant along seeps and stream channels [36,37]

VA:


  • Cane―It is 1 of the most commonly occurring
    herbaceous species in the headwater bottoms of the inner coastal plain. The
    tree layer is typically composed of red maple, sweetgum, ash, and elm. Other herbaceous associates include asplenium ladyfern (Athyrium filix-femina var. asplenioides),
    netted chainfern (Woodwardia areolata), and cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) [79]



  • wetter longleaf pine flatwood sites where pond pine
    becomes more dominant [76]

Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains:


  • Cane―in the mid-Atlantic flatwoods, cane may form dense
    thickets on wetter sites in the oak-hickory-pine association [13]



  • cabbage palmetto-slash pine type



  • Atlantic white cedar type



  • pond cypress type [107]



  • longleaf pine savannas [75]



  • pond pine pocosins [89,107]



  • old-growth bottomland hardwood forests dominated by
    sweetgum and water oak [108]



  • the following associations in coastal plain alluvial
    floodplains and "high elevation" floodplains of natural levees, flats and
    higher terraces: water oak-swamp chestnut-spruce pine (Pinus glabra)
    and swamp chestnut oak-southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)-American
    holly (Ilex opaca) [109]



  • longleaf pine-slash pine-bluestem (Schizachyrium
    spp. and Andropogon spp.) type [45]



  • a bottomland oak association with a loblolly
    pine-dominant overstory; overstory associates include Florida maple, red
    maple, water oak, white oak, yellow-poplar, green ash (F. pennsylvanica),
    and American sycamore [90]



  • the evergreen shrub swamp community of
    inkberry-swamp titi-honeycup [71]



  • the evergreen bay forest type of loblolly bay-pine-sweetbay-redbay (Persea borbonia) [65]


  • Switch
    cane―
    the pocosin woodland series type
    of pond pine-loblolly bay-redbay [70]

  • 1. Allen, Peter H. 1958. A tidewater swamp forest and succession after clearcutting. Durham, NC: Duke University. 48 p. Thesis. [42218]
  • 2. Beckett, Scott; Golden, Michael S. 1982. Forest vegetation and vascular flora of Reed Brake Research Natural Area, Alabama. Castanea. 47(4): 368-392. [63035]
  • 7. Brantley, Christopher G.; Platt, Steven G. 2001. Canebrake conservation in the southeastern United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 29(4): 1175-1181. [62980]
  • 10. Caplenor, Donald. 1968. Forest composition on loessal and non-loessal soils in west-central Mississippi. Ecology. 49(2): 322-331. [63003]
  • 11. Carter, Robert; Boyer, Terry; McCoy, Heather; Londo, Andy. 2006. Classification of green pitcher plant (Sarracenia oreophilla (Kearney) Wherry) communities in the Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama. Natural Areas Journal. 26(1): 84-93. [63037]
  • 12. Christensen, N. L. 1979. Shrublands of the southeastern United States. In: Specht, R. L., ed. Heathlands and related shrublands: descriptive studies. Ecosystems of the world 9A. New York: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company: 441-449. [62989]
  • 13. Christensen, Norman L. 1988. Vegetation of the southeastern Coastal Plain. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 317-363. [17414]
  • 14. Cirtain, Margaret C.; Franklin, Scott B.; Pezeshki, S. Reza. 2004. Effects of nitrogen and moisture regimes on Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. seedling growth. Natural Areas Journal. 24(3): 251-257. [62978]
  • 24. Devall, Margaret S. 1990. Cat Island Swamp: window to a fading Louisiana ecology. Forest Ecology and Management. 33/34(1-4): 303-314. [49453]
  • 25. Devall, Margaret S.; Ramp, Paul F. 1992. U.S. Forest Service Research Natural Areas and protection of old growth in the South. Natural Areas Journal. 12(2): 75-85. [49473]
  • 29. Eleuterius, L. N.; Jones, S. B., Jr. 1969. A floristic and ecological study of pitcher plant bogs in south Mississippi. Rhodora. 71: 29-34. [12333]
  • 36. Gilliam, Frank S. 1991. The significance of fire in an oligotrophic forest ecosystem. In: Nodvin, Stephen C.; Waldrop, Thomas A., eds. Fire and the environment: ecological and cultural perspectives: Proceedings of an international symposium; 1990 March 20-24; Knoxville, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-69. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 113-122. [16641]
  • 37. Gilliam, Frank S.; Christensen, Norman L. 1986. Herb-layer response to burning in pine flatwoods of the lower Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 113(1): 42-45. [4419]
  • 40. Glitzenstein, Jeff S.; Streng, Donna R.; Wade, Dale D. 2003. Fire frequency effects on longleaf pine (Pinus palustris P. Miller) vegetation in South Carolina and northeast Florida, USA. Natural Areas Journal. 23(1): 22-37. [43553]
  • 43. Golden, Michael S. 1979. Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont. Ecology. 60(4): 770-782. [9643]
  • 47. Gunasekaran, M.; Weber, D. J.; Sanderson, S.; Devall, Margaret M. 1992. Reanalysis of the vegetation of Bee Branch Gorge Research Natural Area, a hemlock-beech community on the Warrior River Basin of Alabama. Castanea. 57(1): 34-45. [20436]
  • 52. Hoagland, Bruce. 2000. The vegetation of Oklahoma: a classification for landscape mapping and conservation planning. The Southwestern Naturalist. 45(4): 385-420. [41226]
  • 54. Hughes, Ralph H. 1957. Response of cane to burning in the North Carolina coastal plain. Bulletin No. 402. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 24 p. [34716]
  • 59. Kilgo, J. C. 2005. Harvest-related edge effects on prey availability and foraging of hooded warblers in a bottomland hardwood forest. Condor. 107(3): 627-636. [62982]
  • 60. Kologiski, Russell L. 1977. The phytosociology of the Green Swamp, North Carolina. Tech. Bull. No. 250. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 101 p. [18348]
  • 65. McKevlin, Martha R. 1996. An old-growth definition for evergreen bay forests and related seral communities. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-3. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 14 p. [29709]
  • 66. Moore, Julie H.; Carter, J. H., III. 1987. Habitats of white cedar in North Carolina. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands symposium; 1984 October 9-11; Woods Hole, MA. Westview Special Studies in Natural Resources and Energy Management. Boulder, CO: Westview Press: 177-190. [15877]
  • 69. Noss, Reed F.; LaRoe, Edward T., III; Scott, J. Michael. 1995. Endangered ecosystems of the United States: a preliminary assessment of loss and degradation. Biological Report 28. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Services. 58 p. [50483]
  • 70. Ottmar, Roger D.; Vihnanek, Robert E. 2000. Stereo photo series for quantifying natural fuels. Volume VI: longleaf pine, pocosin, and marshgrass types in the southeast United States. PMS 835. Boise, ID: National Wildfire Coordinating Group, National Interagency Fire Center. 56 p. [50482]
  • 71. Penfound, William T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. The Botanical Review. 18: 413-446. [11477]
  • 73. Platt, Steven G.; Brantley, Christopher G. 1997. Canebrakes: an ecological and historical perspective. Castanea. 62(1): 8-21. [50413]
  • 74. Platt, Steven G.; Brantley, Christopher G.; Rainwater, Thomas R. 2001. Canebrake fauna: wildlife diversity in a critically endangered ecosystem. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 117(1): 1-19. [64668]
  • 75. Platt, William J. 1999. Southeastern pine savannas. In: Anderson, Roger C.; Fralish, James S.; Baskin, Jerry M., eds. Savannas, barrens, and rock outcrop plant communities of North America. New York: Cambridge University Press: 23-51. [52459]
  • 76. Plocher, Allen E. 1999. Plant population dynamics in response to fire in longleaf pine - turkey oak barrens and adjacent wetter communities in southeast Virginia. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. 126(3): 213-225. [30894]
  • 79. Rheinhardt, Richard; Whigham, Dennis; Khan, Humaira; Brinson, Mark. 2000. Vegetation of headwater wetlands in the inner coastal plain of Virginia and Maryland. Castanea. 65(1): 21-35. [39276]
  • 88. Sexton, Rebecca L.; Zaczek, James J.; Groninger, John W.; Fillmore, Stephen D.; Wiliard, Karl W. J. 2003. Giant cane propagation techniques for use in restoration of riparian forest ecosystems. In: Van Sambeek, J. W.; Dawson, J. O.; Ponder, F., Jr.; Loewenstein, E. F.; Fralish, J. S., eds. Proceedings, 13th central hardwood forest conference; 2002 April 1-3; Urbana, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-234. St. Paul, MN: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 421-424. [62984]
  • 89. Sharitz, Rebecca R.; Gibbons, J. Whitfield. 1982. The ecology of southeastern shrub bogs (pocosins) and Carolina bays: a community profile. FWS/OBS-82/04. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Biological Services. 93 p. [17015]
  • 90. Shear, Ted; Young, Mike; Kellison, Robert. 1997. An old-growth definition for red river bottom forests in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-10. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 9 p. [28007]
  • 95. Stalter, Richard. 1990. Torreya taxifolia Arn. Florida torreya. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 601-603. [13420]
  • 102. Vince, Susan W.; Humphrey, Stephen R.; Simons, Robert W. 1989. The ecology of hydric hammocks: A community profile. Biological Rep. 85(7.26). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Research and Development. 82 p. [17977]
  • 104. Walker, Joan; Peet, Robert K. 1983. Composition and species diversity of pine-wiregrass savannas of the Green Swamp, North Carolina. Vegetatio. 55: 163-179. [10132]
  • 105. Wells, B. W. 1928. Plant communities of the coastal plain of North Carolina and their successional relations. Ecology. 9(2): 230-242. [9307]
  • 107. Wenger, Karl F. 1958. Silvical characteristics of pond pine. Station Paper No. 91. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 13 p. [49954]
  • 108. Wharton, Charles H. 1980. Values and functions of bottomland hardwoods. In: Sabol, Kenneth, ed. Balancing natural resources allocations: Transactions, 45th North American wildlife and natural resources conference; 1980; Miami Beach, FL. Washington, DC: Wildlife Management Institute: 341-353. [41912]
  • 109. Wharton, Charles H.; Kitchens, Wiley M.; Pendleton, Edward C.; Sipe, Timothy W. 1982. The ecology of bottomland hardwood swamps of the Southeast: a community profile. FWS/OBS-81/37. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Services Program. 133 p. [51514]
  • 112. Wright, A. H.; Wright, A. A. 1932. The habitats and composition of the vegetation of Okefinokee Swamp, Georgia. Ecological Monographs. 2(2): 109-232. [17130]
  • 45. Grelen, Harold E.; Duvall, Vinson L. 1966. Common plants of longleaf pine - bluestem range. Res. Pap. SO-23. [New Orleans, LA]: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station. 96 p. [27375]
  • 84. Schafale, Michael P.; Weakley, Alan S. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina: 3rd approximation. Raleigh, NC: Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. 325 p. Available online: http://ils.unc.edu/parkproject/nhp/publications/class.pdf [2005, February 14]. [41937]
  • 86. Schneider, Rick E.; Faber-Langendoen, Don; Crawford, Rex C.; Weakley, Alan S. 1997. The status of biodiversity in the Great Plains: Great Plains vegetation classification. Supplemental Document 1. In: Ostlie, Wayne R.; Schneider, Rick E.; Aldrich, Janette Marie; Faust, Thomas M.; McKim, Robert L. B.; Chaplin, Stephen J., compilers. The status of biodiversity in the Great Plains, [Online]. Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy (Producer). 75 p. Available: http://conserveonline.org/docs/2005/02/greatplains_vegclass_97.pdf [2006 May 16]. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [62020]

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Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

More info for the terms: cover, hardwood

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [93]:

805 Riparian

809 Mixed hardwood and pine

812 North Florida flatwoods

813 Cutthroat seeps

814 Cabbage palm flatwoods

815 Upland hardwood hammocks

816 Cabbage palm hammocks

817 Oak hammocks

821 Pitcher plant bogs

822 Slough
  • 93. Shiflet, Thomas N., ed. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management. 152 p. [23362]

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the terms: cover, swamp

SAF COVER TYPES [30]:

23 Eastern hemlock

26 Sugar maple-basswood

27 Sugar maple

53 White oak

57 Yellow-poplar

59 Yellow-poplar-white oak-northern red oak

60 Beech-sugar maple

61 River birch-sycamore

70 Longleaf pine

71 Longleaf pine-scrub oak

72 Southern scrub oak

74 Cabbage palmetto

75 Shortleaf pine

76 Shortleaf pine-oak

80 Loblolly pine-shortleaf pine

81 Loblolly pine

82 Loblolly pine-hardwood

83 Longleaf pine-slash pine

84 Slash pine

85 Slash pine-hardwood

87 Sweetgum-yellow-poplar

88 Willow oak-water oak-diamondleaf (laurel) oak

89 Live oak

91 Swamp chestnut oak-cherrybark oak

92 Sweetgum-willow oak

93 Sugarberry-American elm-green ash

94 Sycamore-sweetgum-American elm

96 Overcup oak-water hickory

97 Atlantic white-cedar

98 Pond pine

100 Pondcypress

101 Baldcypress

102 Baldcypress-tupelo

103 Water tupelo-swamp tupelo

104 Sweetbay-swamp tupelo-redbay

110 Black oak
  • 30. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

KUCHLER [61] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:

K079 Palmetto prairie

K089 Black Belt

K090 Live oak-sea oats

K099 Maple-basswood forest

K100 Oak-hickory forest

K101 Elm-ash forest

K102 Beech-maple forest

K103 Mixed mesophytic forest

K104 Appalachian oak forest

K109 Transition between K104 and K106

K111 Oak-hickory-pine

K112 Southern mixed forest

K113 Southern floodplain forest

K114 Pocosin
  • 61. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

ECOSYSTEMS [35]:

FRES12 Longleaf-slash pine

FRES13 Loblolly-shortleaf pine

FRES14 Oak-pine

FRES15 Oak-hickory

FRES16 Oak-gum-cypress

FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood

FRES41 Wet grasslands
  • 35. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; Lewis, Mont E.; Smith, Dixie R. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]

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Dispersal

Establishment

Giant cane produces green leaves and stems all year. It grows vigorously from rhizomes and from auxiliary buds at basal nodes. It also grows in small colonies, thickets, and large canebrakes as well as makes vigorous growth under a dense stand of trees. It is adapted to moist soils along riverbanks and in bottomlands and similar sites. It does best on soils of high fertility.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Faunal Associations

Some native insects are obligate feeders on Giant Cane and perhaps other Arundinaria spp. These insects feeders include several leafhoppers (Arundanus arundineus, Arundanus flavotinctus, Arundanus marginellus, Arundanus nacreosa, Chlorotettix suturalis) and the caterpillars of such skippers and butterflies as Amblyscirtes aesculapius (Cobweb Roadside Skipper), Amblyscirtes carolina (Carolina Roadside Skipper), Amblyscirtes reversa (Reversed Roadside Skipper), Poanes yehl (Yehl Skipper), Enodia creola (Creole Pearly Eye), and Enodia portlandia (Southern Pearly Eye). A snout moth, Crocidophora pustuliferalis, also feeds on Giant Cane by forming webs around its leaves. Giant Cane also provides cover and it is a source of food for several vertebrate animals. The young culms and leaves are readily consumed by cattle, horses, sheep, deer, beavers, and even black bears because they are high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients. The large seeds of Giant Cane were occasionally eaten by the extinct Passenger Pigeon and Carolina Parakeet. Colonies of Giant Cane (or canebrakes) provide the preferred habitat of the uncommon Canebrake Rattlesnake (a subspecies of the Timber Rattlesnake) and this habitat also attracts Copperhead and Cottonmouth snakes. Canebrakes also provide the preferred nesting habitat of the uncommon Swainson's Warbler and the now extinct Bachman's Warbler. It is thought that the decline of large canebrakes played a role in the extinction of the latter warbler. The Meadow Vole, Golden Mouse, and other small rodents also inhabit this kind of habitat.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: density, fresh, litter, prescribed fire

Prescribed fire can be used to renovate decadent cane stands. Hughes [54] recommends prescribed fire at 10-year-intervals to increase cane density. Leithead and others [62] caution that burns should not be conducted any more often than every 3 to 4 years. Low-severity fires limited to surface litter are adequate to stimulate new sprout growth, but aerial vegetation that was killed, but not consumed, by fire presents an increased fire hazard, and reburning may be warranted for fire hazard reduction. In 1 study in a North Carolina canebrake, a prescribed fire reduced fire hazard for the first 2 to 3 years, and fuels reached a peak of 5 to 7 tons/acre after 3 or 4 years of fire protection. Therefore, if a reduction of fire hazard is desired, a short burning cycle is preferable [54].

Prescribed fire may not help to promote the rapid spread of cane into adjacent areas. If soils are compacted, lateral penetration of roots and rhizomes is slow [54].

Grazing reduces the fire hazard in cane stands. In the pocosins of North Carolina, grazing reduced the total combustible material per acre by 43%. Three different fires were noticeably slowed down and/or stopped once they entered the grazed area. Although burning may be beneficial in some respects, burned cane range is particularly susceptible to grazing damage, and over-use of fresh burns must be avoided to maintain grazing values [91].

Hilmon and Hughes [50] cautioned that control of wild cane fires may be "difficult or impossible" because of their speed and intensity [50].
  • 50. Hilmon, J. B.; Hughes, Ralph H. 1965. Forest Service research on the use of fire in livestock management in the South. In: Proceedings, 4th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1965 March 18-19; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 260-275. [16247]
  • 54. Hughes, Ralph H. 1957. Response of cane to burning in the North Carolina coastal plain. Bulletin No. 402. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 24 p. [34716]
  • 62. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17551]
  • 91. Shepherd, W. O.; Dillard, E. U.; Lucas, H. L. 1951. Grazing and fire influences in pond pine forests. Tech. Bull. No. 97. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. [14546]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, density, prescribed burn, shrubs, succession, tree, wildfire

Cane stands tend to remain even-aged for 2 to 3 years following fire with many
sprouts emerging within the 1st year, and few new shoots in the 2nd and 3rd
years. Thereafter, new sprouts again start to appear, and the stands become uneven-aged [54].

Cane may not respond to burning if overall stand vigor is extremely poor. If
cane stands of low vigor are burned, other plant species may regenerate more
quickly, and the cane may never recover [54].
A spring prescribed burn promoted cane in a pond pine/cane community in the
North Carolina coastal plain. On sites without tree cover, cane stem numbers
increased 88% in the first year following the burn. On sites with pond pine
tree cover, cane stem numbers increased 40% in the first year [54].
Fire favored switch cane in longleaf and loblolly pine communities in the South
Carolina coastal plain. Prescribed burns were carried out in the winter over a
12-year period at intervals of 1, 2, 3, and 4 years. Prior to burning, the
understory was predominantly shrubs, with a minor to moderate component of
switch cane. Burning resulted in a general conversion of the understory from
shrubs to grasses, primarily switch cane [82].
In the absence of fire, cane stands lose vigor, culms die, and succession by
other plant species exceeds the rate of cane regeneration. In 1 study in a
pond pine/cane forest in the coastal plain of North Carolina, cane stem density
started to decline 10 years after a spring wildfire. From 10 to 13 years
after fire, cane stem numbers declined 50%, and by year 14, there was a 65%
reduction in density [54].
Repeated annual or semi-annual fires are detrimental to cane stands because the
continuous removal of the stems and leaves depletes food reserves in the rhizomes,
and new sprouts cannot be produced [7,56,106].
  • 7. Brantley, Christopher G.; Platt, Steven G. 2001. Canebrake conservation in the southeastern United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 29(4): 1175-1181. [62980]
  • 54. Hughes, Ralph H. 1957. Response of cane to burning in the North Carolina coastal plain. Bulletin No. 402. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 24 p. [34716]
  • 56. Hughes, Ralph H.; Dillard, Emmett U.; Hilmon, J. B. 1960. Vegetation and cattle response under two systems of grazing cane range in North Carolina. Bulletin 412. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 27 p. [36651]
  • 82. Sackett, Stephen S. 1975. Scheduling prescribed burns for hazard reduction in the Southeast. Journal of Forestry. 73(3): 143-147. [11856]
  • 106. Wells, B. W.; Whitford, L. A. 1976. History of stream-head swamp forests, pocosins, and savannahs in the Southeast. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Science Society. 92: 148-150. [15038]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the term: density

Fire stimulates cane sprouting [21]. Cane will start to sprout soon following a spring burn, and stem density may return to prefire levels by mid-summer of the same season [91]. Following a winter fire in North Carolina, cane stems grew as much as 1.5 inches in 24 hours in the following spring [55].>

Cane may flower in response to burning [49,63,88]. Seedlings occasionally establish after a fire, but the seedlings rarely develop into full-sized plants [54].

  • 21. Crutchfield, D. M.; Trew, I. F. 1961. Investigation of natural regeneration of pond pine. Journal of Forestry. 59(4): 264-266. [33075]
  • 49. Hellgren, Eric C.; Vaughan, Michael R. 1988. Seasonal food habits of black bears in Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia - North Carolina. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 42: 295-305. [19221]
  • 54. Hughes, Ralph H. 1957. Response of cane to burning in the North Carolina coastal plain. Bulletin No. 402. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 24 p. [34716]
  • 55. Hughes, Ralph H. 1966. Fire ecology of canebrakes. In: Proceedings, 5th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1966 March 24-25; Tallahassee, FL. No. 5. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 148-158. [16236]
  • 63. Lewis, Clifford E.; Harshbarger, Thomas J. 1976. Shrub and herbaceous vegetation after 20 years of prescribed burning in the South Carolina coastal plain. Journal of Range Management. 29(1): 13-18. [7621]
  • 88. Sexton, Rebecca L.; Zaczek, James J.; Groninger, John W.; Fillmore, Stephen D.; Wiliard, Karl W. J. 2003. Giant cane propagation techniques for use in restoration of riparian forest ecosystems. In: Van Sambeek, J. W.; Dawson, J. O.; Ponder, F., Jr.; Loewenstein, E. F.; Fralish, J. S., eds. Proceedings, 13th central hardwood forest conference; 2002 April 1-3; Urbana, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-234. St. Paul, MN: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 421-424. [62984]
  • 91. Shepherd, W. O.; Dillard, E. U.; Lucas, H. L. 1951. Grazing and fire influences in pond pine forests. Tech. Bull. No. 97. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. [14546]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

The coarse stems and leaves of cane are readily killed by fire, but the rhizomes usually survive [55].
  • 55. Hughes, Ralph H. 1966. Fire ecology of canebrakes. In: Proceedings, 5th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1966 March 24-25; Tallahassee, FL. No. 5. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 148-158. [16236]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: rhizome, root crown

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [96]:
Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
Surface rhizome/chamaephytic root crown in organic mantle or on soil surface
  • 96. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. FEIS postfire regeneration workshop--April 12: Seral origin of species comprising secondary plant succession in Northern Rocky Mountain forests. 10 p. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [20090]

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: bog, fire frequency, fire intensity, fire regime, fire severity, frequency, fuel, hardwood, low-severity fire, marsh, mesic, natural, organic soils, peat, severity, shrub, shrubs, top-kill

Fire adaptations: Cane is adapted to fire by sprouting quickly and prolifically from rhizomes [18,53,74].

FIRE REGIMES: Canebrakes are fire-dependent ecosystems [34,40]. Prior to European settlement, fire was the primary factor that maintained monotypic canebrakes on hundreds of thousands of acres across the mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S. It is estimated that the historical fire frequency of canebrakes in the southeastern U.S. ranged from 2 to 8 years [34]. The dense growth creates heavy fuel loads and makes canebrakes highly flammable [55,91]. Canebrakes on peatlands historically experienced landscape-scale fires that burned for weeks or months, creeping through swamps, smoldering in peat, and flaring up when flammable vegetation was reached or when conditions of humidity and wind reached critical thresholds [32]. In canebrakes of bottomland hardwood ecosystems, fire intensity in the cane stands was much higher than in the adjacent hardwood forest, although the fire severity was low except during drought. Large fires only occurred after an extended drought, usually a dry fall followed by a dry spring [103].

FIRE REGIMES in the various woodland and shrubland communities where cane may occur can be variable. The southern pine forests and pine savannas typically have fire return intervals of less than 10 years [68,103]. In the southeastern U.S., adiabatic thunderstorms can occur almost daily during the summer, and this region has 1 of the highest annual lightning frequencies in the world [68,75]. Although the number of lightning fires is highest from June to August, the majority of acreage burns in May and June in Florida and south Georgia, when the time between thunderstorms is longer. In the late summer, thunderstorms and associated rainfall are more frequent and humidities are higher. Historically, fires associated with dry frontal systems probably were quite large and may have burned for weeks or months, particularly in organic/peaty soil. Such fires likely spread into adjacent upland communities. The historic high fire frequency resulted in a frequent low-severity fire regime. Exceptions occurred when catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, tornados, and severe drought, were precursors to fires of much higher intensity and severity [75,103].

Pond pine pocosins burn on a 20- to 50-year cycle, but on highly productive sites, fire-return intervals of 3 to 10 years can be common. The shorter interval fires may produce a pine savanna with a grass understory. Mesic sites have a shrub layer comprised of many ericaceous evergreen shrubs that tend to burn intensely, resulting in the top-kill or death of all vegetation except pond pine. Pond pine has the ability to sprout from its base as well as along its stem and branches; thus, its aboveground stem survives higher severity fires than stems of most other pine species. This trait allows the species to dominate wet areas such as pocosins. Summer fires during severe droughts can eliminate pond pine and cane, because the underlying organic soil burns, destroying root systems [103].

Cane grows in hardwood communities with a wide range of fire frequencies, from the short return interval of 3 to 8 years for chestnut oak, to the moderate-return intervals of 35 years for yellow-poplar and oak-hickory communities, and the 1000+ years possible for some maple, beech, and birch communities. On bottomland hardwood sites, low-severity fires are the norm because fuel loads are generally light due to rapid decomposition on these moist, humid sites. Insect- and disease-related mortality and windthrow can result in heavy loadings of large woody fuels which, in times of drought, will support stand-replacement fires [103].

Evergreen bay forests of loblolly bay, sweetbay, and redbay are characterized by a stand replacement fire regime. This type now burns on about a 20- to 100-year cycle, but the historic fire frequency is not well documented [65]. Shrub bogs are bay forests that burn every 2 to 5 decades. More frequent burning, at least once a decade, removes the shrub layer, resulting in an herb bog. If the underlying organic soils are completely consumed, both pocosins and bays will revert to marsh [103].

Before European settlers harvested Atlantic white-cedar, it was generally perpetuated by major disturbances, probably stand-replacing crown fires that occurred at 25 to 300 year intervals [103].

Embedded within pine and floodplain hardwood ecosystems are numerous other ecosystems such as depressional wetlands, including bays, lime sinks, cypress ponds and savannas, gum ponds, bay swamps, pitcher plant bogs, shrub bogs, and spring seeps. Fires in these wetland communities are typically stand-replacing. Fire return intervals can be variable: 3 to 9 years in herb bogs and shrub bogs; 20 to 30 years in gum ponds and bog swamps; 20 to 50 years in titi shrub bogs, and 20 to 150 years in many cypress ponds and bay swamps [103].

Wet grassland ecosystems are characterized by a presettlement fire frequency of 1 to 3 years. These ecosystems typically contain large quantities of herbaceous vegetation and are considered highly flammable. The coastal grassland landscapes are often quite extensive, a factor that aids in the propagation of an individual fire. Depending on fuel and wind speeds, fire may either bridge small to moderate-sized natural breaks, such as stream channels, or be stopped by them [103]. Lightning-strike fires are common in coastal wetlands, and often fire from adjacent uplands can spread into the wetlands [32].

The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where cane is important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
maple-beech Acer-Fagus spp. 684-1,385 [15,103]
maple-beech-birch Acer-Fagus-Betula spp. >1,000
sugar maple Acer saccharum >1,000
sugar maple-basswood Acer saccharum-Tilia americana >1,000
sugarberry-America elm-green ash Celtis laevigata-Ulmus americana-Fraxinus pennsylvanica <35 to 200
Atlantic white-cedar Chamaecyparis thyoides 35 to >200
beech-sugar maple Fagus spp.-Acer saccharum >1,000 [103]
green ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica <35 to >300 [28,103]
yellow-poplar Liriodendron tulipifera <35
shortleaf pine Pinus echinata 2-15
shortleaf pine-oak Pinus echinata-Quercus spp. <10
slash pine Pinus elliottii 3-8
slash pine-hardwood Pinus elliottii-variable <35 [103]
longleaf-slash pine Pinus palustris-P. elliottii 1-4 [68,103]
longleaf pine-scrub oak Pinus palustris-Quercus spp. 6-10
pocosin Pinus serotina 3-8
pond pine Pinus serotina 3-8
loblolly pine Pinus taeda 3-8
loblolly-shortleaf pine Pinus taeda-P. echinata 10 to <35
sycamore-sweetgum-American elm Platanus occidentalis-Liquidambar styraciflua-Ulmus americana <35 to 200
oak-hickory Quercus-Carya spp. <35 [103]
oak-gum-cypress Quercus-Nyssa-spp.-Taxodium distichum 35 to >200 [68]
southeastern oak-pine Quercus-Pinus spp. <10
white oak-black oak-northern red oak Quercus alba-Q. velutina-Q. rubra <35
chestnut oak Quercus prinus 3-8
black oak Quercus velutina <35
live oak Quercus virginiana 10 to <100 [103]
cabbage palmetto-slash pine Sabal palmetto-Pinus elliottii <10 [68,103]
baldcypress Taxodium distichum var. distichum 100 to >300
pondcypress Taxodium distichum var. nutans <35 [68]
  • 18. Connor, Kristina. 2004. Arudinaria gigantea. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 91-92. [52111]
  • 28. Eggler, Willis A. 1980. Live oak. In: Eyre, F. H., ed. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 63-64. [49984]
  • 34. Frost, Cecil. 2002. Fire ecology of marshes and canebrakes in the southeastern United States. In: Ford, W. Mark; Russell, Kevin R.; Moorman, Christopher E., eds. The role of fire in nongame wildlife management and community restoration: traditional uses and new directions: Proceedings of a special workshop; 2000 December 15; Nashville, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-288. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station: 145. [41570]
  • 40. Glitzenstein, Jeff S.; Streng, Donna R.; Wade, Dale D. 2003. Fire frequency effects on longleaf pine (Pinus palustris P. Miller) vegetation in South Carolina and northeast Florida, USA. Natural Areas Journal. 23(1): 22-37. [43553]
  • 53. Hughes, Ralph H. 1951. Observations of cane (Arundinaria) flowers, seed, and seedlings in the North Carolina Coastal Plain. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 78(2): 113-121. [63018]
  • 55. Hughes, Ralph H. 1966. Fire ecology of canebrakes. In: Proceedings, 5th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1966 March 24-25; Tallahassee, FL. No. 5. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 148-158. [16236]
  • 65. McKevlin, Martha R. 1996. An old-growth definition for evergreen bay forests and related seral communities. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-3. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 14 p. [29709]
  • 68. Myers, Ronald L. 2000. Fire in tropical and subtropical ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 161-173. [36985]
  • 74. Platt, Steven G.; Brantley, Christopher G.; Rainwater, Thomas R. 2001. Canebrake fauna: wildlife diversity in a critically endangered ecosystem. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 117(1): 1-19. [64668]
  • 75. Platt, William J. 1999. Southeastern pine savannas. In: Anderson, Roger C.; Fralish, James S.; Baskin, Jerry M., eds. Savannas, barrens, and rock outcrop plant communities of North America. New York: Cambridge University Press: 23-51. [52459]
  • 91. Shepherd, W. O.; Dillard, E. U.; Lucas, H. L. 1951. Grazing and fire influences in pond pine forests. Tech. Bull. No. 97. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. [14546]
  • 103. Wade, Dale D.; Brock, Brent L.; Brose, Patrick H.; Grace, James B.; Hoch, Greg A.; Patterson, William A., III. 2000. Fire in eastern ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 53-96. [36983]
  • 15. Cleland, David T.; Crow, Thomas R.; Saunders, Sari C.; Dickmann, Donald I.; Maclean, Ann L.; Jordan, James K.; Watson, Richard L.; Sloan, Alyssa M.; Brosofske, Kimberley D. 2004. Characterizing historical and modern FIRE REGIMES in Michigan (USA): a landscape ecosystem approach. Landscape Ecology. 19: 311-325. [54326]
  • 32. Frost, Cecil C. 1995. Presettlement FIRE REGIMES in southeastern marshes, peatlands, and swamps. In: Cerulean, Susan I.; Engstrom, R. Todd, eds. Fire in wetlands: a management perspective: Proceedings, 19th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1993 November 3-6; Tallahassee, FL. No. 19. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 39-60. [26949]

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Successional Status

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More info for the terms: bog, cover, hardwood, mesic, sere, shrub, shrubs, succession, swamp, tree, xeric

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Cane inhabits low-lying, moist to wet sites, including low woodlands of various mixtures, woodlands on mesic and sub-mesic slopes and uplands, river and stream banks, floodplains, levees, shrub-tree bogs and bays, swamplands, sloughs, bayous and pocosins, and mesic to wet savannahs [18,41,42,84,104,109]. Cane will grow on xeric and sub-xeric sites, but it thrives best on wetter sites that are typically seasonally flooded or saturated [75]. The water level often remains at or near the soil surface for extended periods during the wet season but falls well below the soil surface later in the growing season [84,91,102].

Although cane thrives best on well-drained loams or silt loams [43,90], it grows in a variety of soil types ranging from clay to sand and has a wide tolerance of soil nutrient conditions [14]. Soils are often poorly drained, highly acidic, and organic, peaty, or mucky [84,92,105]. On some sites, sandy surface soils overlie loamy or clayey subsoils. The heavier subsoil tends to retain moisture and nutrients during dry periods [6,40]. Cane has been observed growing on sandy soils with a mildly alkaline pH of 7.8 [31].

Cane is found at elevations ranging from sea level in southern floodplains to 2,000 feet (610 m) in the Appalachian Mountains. It has a broad climate tolerance and can withstand temperatures ranging from -9.4 to 106 °F (-23 to 41 °C) [18].


The canebrake community is fire dependent [34,40]. Historically, fire probably maintained canebrakes in a secondary successional sere [7]. Cane sprouts so prolifically following fire that it quickly achieves dominance after a burn, and the dense thickets suppress the growth of other vegetation for many years [32]. In the Southeast, canebrakes can form an ecotone transitional between savannas and wetlands such as pocosin, bay-gall, bay forest, or swamp forest. With different fire frequencies, canebrakes may alternate with these types over time. In the pine pocosins and shrub bogs of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, fire maintains cane dominance over evergreen shrubs such as inkberry, swamp titi, sweetbay, and redbay. Frequent fire can eliminate cane and favor a transition to a grass-sedge bog community. In the absence of fire, cane is gradually replaced by shrubs and trees [21,33,60,74,89,105,106]. Canebrakes succeed to multistoried wooded communities such as bottomland hardwood, pocosin, pond pine forest, red maple forest, and bay forest [34].

Cane is fairly shade tolerant. It thrives best in the open or under light tree cover, but can persist under dense canopies of up to 80% cover [27,54,62]. The ability of cane to survive under tree cover allows it to expand readily if the trees are removed [32]. For example, a cane stand expanded "readily" following logging of the tree overstory in blackgum and Atlantic white-cedar swamps in the Great Dismal Swamp, North Carolina [71].

Cane does not spread rapidly into either early or late successional forest types. It is hypothesized that cane was formerly concentrated in ecotones, between frequently disturbed areas and less disturbed forests of sugar maples, hickories, ashes, and oaks. The ecotonal vegetation may have been relatively stable, being maintained by small-scale oscillations of forest boundaries rather than long-term directional succession [9].

  • 6. Bramlett, David L. 1990. Pinus serotina Michx. pond pine. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 470-475. [13407]
  • 7. Brantley, Christopher G.; Platt, Steven G. 2001. Canebrake conservation in the southeastern United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 29(4): 1175-1181. [62980]
  • 9. Campbell, Julian J. N. 1989. Historical evidence of forest composition in the bluegrass region of Kentucky. In: Rink, George; Budelsky, Carl A., eds. Proceedings, 7th central hardwood conference; 1989 March 5-8; Carbondale, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-132. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 231-246. [9385]
  • 14. Cirtain, Margaret C.; Franklin, Scott B.; Pezeshki, S. Reza. 2004. Effects of nitrogen and moisture regimes on Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. seedling growth. Natural Areas Journal. 24(3): 251-257. [62978]
  • 18. Connor, Kristina. 2004. Arudinaria gigantea. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 91-92. [52111]
  • 21. Crutchfield, D. M.; Trew, I. F. 1961. Investigation of natural regeneration of pond pine. Journal of Forestry. 59(4): 264-266. [33075]
  • 27. Eddleman, William R.; Evans, Keith E.; Elder, William H. 1980. Habitat characteristics and management of Swainson's warbler in southern Illinois. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 8(3): 228-233. [62504]
  • 31. Feeback, Dennis. 1993. The Arundianarai Project--an experiment with cane in roadside management. Land and Water. 37: 32-34. [20799]
  • 33. Frost, Cecil C.; Walker, Joan; Peet, Robert K. 1986. Fire-dependent savannas and prairies of the Southeast: original extent, preservation status and management problems. In: Kulhavy, D. L.; Conner, R. N., eds. Wilderness and natural areas in the eastern United States: a management challenge. Nacogdoches, TX: Stephen F. Austin University: 348-357. [10333]
  • 34. Frost, Cecil. 2002. Fire ecology of marshes and canebrakes in the southeastern United States. In: Ford, W. Mark; Russell, Kevin R.; Moorman, Christopher E., eds. The role of fire in nongame wildlife management and community restoration: traditional uses and new directions: Proceedings of a special workshop; 2000 December 15; Nashville, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-288. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station: 145. [41570]
  • 40. Glitzenstein, Jeff S.; Streng, Donna R.; Wade, Dale D. 2003. Fire frequency effects on longleaf pine (Pinus palustris P. Miller) vegetation in South Carolina and northeast Florida, USA. Natural Areas Journal. 23(1): 22-37. [43553]
  • 41. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]
  • 42. Godfrey, Robert K.; Wooten, Jean W. 1979. Aquatic and wetland plants of southeastern United States: Monocotyledons. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 712 p. [16906]
  • 43. Golden, Michael S. 1979. Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont. Ecology. 60(4): 770-782. [9643]
  • 54. Hughes, Ralph H. 1957. Response of cane to burning in the North Carolina coastal plain. Bulletin No. 402. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 24 p. [34716]
  • 60. Kologiski, Russell L. 1977. The phytosociology of the Green Swamp, North Carolina. Tech. Bull. No. 250. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 101 p. [18348]
  • 62. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17551]
  • 71. Penfound, William T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. The Botanical Review. 18: 413-446. [11477]
  • 74. Platt, Steven G.; Brantley, Christopher G.; Rainwater, Thomas R. 2001. Canebrake fauna: wildlife diversity in a critically endangered ecosystem. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 117(1): 1-19. [64668]
  • 75. Platt, William J. 1999. Southeastern pine savannas. In: Anderson, Roger C.; Fralish, James S.; Baskin, Jerry M., eds. Savannas, barrens, and rock outcrop plant communities of North America. New York: Cambridge University Press: 23-51. [52459]
  • 89. Sharitz, Rebecca R.; Gibbons, J. Whitfield. 1982. The ecology of southeastern shrub bogs (pocosins) and Carolina bays: a community profile. FWS/OBS-82/04. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Biological Services. 93 p. [17015]
  • 90. Shear, Ted; Young, Mike; Kellison, Robert. 1997. An old-growth definition for red river bottom forests in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-10. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 9 p. [28007]
  • 91. Shepherd, W. O.; Dillard, E. U.; Lucas, H. L. 1951. Grazing and fire influences in pond pine forests. Tech. Bull. No. 97. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. [14546]
  • 92. Shepherd, W. O.; Hughes, R. H.; Dillard, E. U.; Rea, J. L. 1956. Pasture firebreaks: Construction and species trials on pond pine sites in North Carolina. Bulletin No. 398. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 34 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture. [63069]
  • 102. Vince, Susan W.; Humphrey, Stephen R.; Simons, Robert W. 1989. The ecology of hydric hammocks: A community profile. Biological Rep. 85(7.26). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Research and Development. 82 p. [17977]
  • 104. Walker, Joan; Peet, Robert K. 1983. Composition and species diversity of pine-wiregrass savannas of the Green Swamp, North Carolina. Vegetatio. 55: 163-179. [10132]
  • 105. Wells, B. W. 1928. Plant communities of the coastal plain of North Carolina and their successional relations. Ecology. 9(2): 230-242. [9307]
  • 106. Wells, B. W.; Whitford, L. A. 1976. History of stream-head swamp forests, pocosins, and savannahs in the Southeast. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Science Society. 92: 148-150. [15038]
  • 109. Wharton, Charles H.; Kitchens, Wiley M.; Pendleton, Edward C.; Sipe, Timothy W. 1982. The ecology of bottomland hardwood swamps of the Southeast: a community profile. FWS/OBS-81/37. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Services Program. 133 p. [51514]
  • 32. Frost, Cecil C. 1995. Presettlement FIRE REGIMES in southeastern marshes, peatlands, and swamps. In: Cerulean, Susan I.; Engstrom, R. Todd, eds. Fire in wetlands: a management perspective: Proceedings, 19th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1993 November 3-6; Tallahassee, FL. No. 19. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 39-60. [26949]
  • 84. Schafale, Michael P.; Weakley, Alan S. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina: 3rd approximation. Raleigh, NC: Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. 325 p. Available online: http://ils.unc.edu/parkproject/nhp/publications/class.pdf [2005, February 14]. [41937]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info for the terms: geophyte, phanerophyte

RAUNKIAER [78] LIFE FORM:
Phanerophyte
Geophyte
  • 78. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life Form

More info for the term: graminoid

Graminoid

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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

Although fire will kill all aboveground plant parts, it maintains cane stands by stimulating the production of new sprouts and eliminating other vegetation that would compete with the sprouts for water and nutrients [55].
  • 55. Hughes, Ralph H. 1966. Fire ecology of canebrakes. In: Proceedings, 5th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1966 March 24-25; Tallahassee, FL. No. 5. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 148-158. [16236]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

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Foliage production occurs from April to early July, and green foliage is held well into winter and even until the following spring on protected sites [91]. Flowering in cane is rare, but it may occur from March to May in Florida [16,48] and from April to July in the northern extent of its range [77,110]. The flowering period may continue for a year [51]. Seeds mature about 1 month following flowering, and seed germination may occur within a few days of the seed reaching the ground [53,55]. Aerial stems, and the rhizomes attached to them, die after flowering [42,53,64,77]. New stems arise from rhizomes from spring to mid-summer, and have been observed to elongate as much as 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in 24 hours [53]. Stands usually decline in 3 to 4 years because of gradual mortality and replacement [55].
  • 110. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]
  • 77. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 16. Clewell, Andre F. 1985. Guide to the vascular plants of the Florida Panhandle. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Press. 605 p. [13124]
  • 42. Godfrey, Robert K.; Wooten, Jean W. 1979. Aquatic and wetland plants of southeastern United States: Monocotyledons. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 712 p. [16906]
  • 48. Hall, David W. 1978. The grasses of Florida. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 498 p. Dissertation. [53560]
  • 53. Hughes, Ralph H. 1951. Observations of cane (Arundinaria) flowers, seed, and seedlings in the North Carolina Coastal Plain. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 78(2): 113-121. [63018]
  • 55. Hughes, Ralph H. 1966. Fire ecology of canebrakes. In: Proceedings, 5th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1966 March 24-25; Tallahassee, FL. No. 5. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 148-158. [16236]
  • 64. McClure, F. A. 1973. Genera of Bamboos native to the New World (Gramineae: Bambusoideae). In: Soderstrom, Thomas R., ed. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany No. 9. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 148 p. [65474]
  • 91. Shepherd, W. O.; Dillard, E. U.; Lucas, H. L. 1951. Grazing and fire influences in pond pine forests. Tech. Bull. No. 97. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. [14546]
  • 51. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165]

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Information on state-level protected status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: prescribed fire, restoration

More than 98% of all large canebrakes in the U.S. have been lost since the
time of European settlement, and canebrakes are considered "critically
endangered" ecosystems as defined by the National Biological Service. Large
canebrakes historically performed a valuable role in protecting water quality by
their ability to mediate sedimentation and nutrient pollution. They also
provided a level of flood control in low-lying areas [69]. The loss of
canebrakes has left many areas more vulnerable to damage from sedimentation,
nutrient pollution, and flood damage, and the loss of cane habitat has been
strongly tied to declines in several associated wildlife species [69,88]. In
recent years there has been significant interest in the restoration of
canebrakes through the use of prescribed fire and artificial propagation, and
continued efforts are needed to assure the survival of this ecosystem [5].
  • 69. Noss, Reed F.; LaRoe, Edward T., III; Scott, J. Michael. 1995. Endangered ecosystems of the United States: a preliminary assessment of loss and degradation. Biological Report 28. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Services. 58 p. [50483]
  • 88. Sexton, Rebecca L.; Zaczek, James J.; Groninger, John W.; Fillmore, Stephen D.; Wiliard, Karl W. J. 2003. Giant cane propagation techniques for use in restoration of riparian forest ecosystems. In: Van Sambeek, J. W.; Dawson, J. O.; Ponder, F., Jr.; Loewenstein, E. F.; Fralish, J. S., eds. Proceedings, 13th central hardwood forest conference; 2002 April 1-3; Urbana, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-234. St. Paul, MN: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 421-424. [62984]
  • 5. Blattel, Christopher R.; Williard, Karl W. J.; Baer, Sara G.; Zaczek, James J. 2005. Abatement of ground water phosphate in giant cane and forest riparian buffers. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 41(2): 301-307. [62972]

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Prevention and Control

Do not plant exotic bamboos. While manual control of bamboo through cutting and digging out of rhizomes is possible, it is extremely labor intensive and will need to be continued over a long time to ensure eradication. Control with herbicides is more practical and can be very effective.

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Please contact your local NRCS Field Office.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Overgrazing and uncontrolled burning easily kills this grass. For maximum production, no more than 50 percent of current year's growth by weight should be grazed off at any season. Controlled burning should be done under ideal humidity, soil moisture, and wind conditions no more than every 3 to 4 years. Deferred grazing for at least 90 days during summer every 2 to 3 years improves plant vigor. Overgrazed stands require complete protection from grazing and fire during the growing season to allow plants to regain vigor.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is partial to full sun, wet to moist conditions, and fertile soil consisting of loam or silty loam. However, this woody grass can adapt to areas that are more shady and dry, where its growth will be stunted. Periods of standing water are readily tolerated. The size of individual plants can vary considerably depending on their age and environmental conditions. Northern ecotypes of this grass can tolerate temperatures to -10º F. Under favorable conditions, it can spread aggressively via its rhizomes. Seed viability is low, and seedlings develop slowly (typically 1' tall after 3 years).
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the terms: culm, density, hardwood, restoration, rhizome

High culm density, rapid lateral spread, and rapid height growth make cane a good choice for riparian buffer zones. Cane's compact network of rhizomes provides streambank stabilization, sediment retention, and bioaccumulation of nutrients and toxins [23]. Without the mediation effects of cane, there is an increased potential for damage to the riparian system. Research has shown that cane can significantly reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in surface runoff and nitrogen and phosphorus in groundwater. In 1 study around row-crop fields in southern Illinois, cane was effective in reducing ground water nitrate levels by 90%, and dissolved reactive phosphorus concentrations by 28% [5,87].

Cirtain and others [14] conducted greenhouse studies on the germination and growth of cane seedlings. Seedlings were able to survive both flooding and drought, but grew better under well-drained conditions. Although cane can be propagated by seed, seed is sporadically produced and has low viability. Therefore, artificial propagation is best achieved by vegetative means including rhizome cuttings and clump division [88]. Transplanting stem clumps is often more successful than using individual stems [31]. The survival of transplanted cane varies widely, and slow growth is a common problem. Care should be taken to keep transplant stock from drying out. Amendments of hardwood mulch and composted manure may help increase the success of transplantings [23]. Because propagation of cane by digging and transplanting culms is labor intensive, cumbersome, and costly, research is being carried out to develop procedures for producing machine-plantable rhizome stock for use in canebrake restoration [115].

  • 14. Cirtain, Margaret C.; Franklin, Scott B.; Pezeshki, S. Reza. 2004. Effects of nitrogen and moisture regimes on Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. seedling growth. Natural Areas Journal. 24(3): 251-257. [62978]
  • 31. Feeback, Dennis. 1993. The Arundianarai Project--an experiment with cane in roadside management. Land and Water. 37: 32-34. [20799]
  • 88. Sexton, Rebecca L.; Zaczek, James J.; Groninger, John W.; Fillmore, Stephen D.; Wiliard, Karl W. J. 2003. Giant cane propagation techniques for use in restoration of riparian forest ecosystems. In: Van Sambeek, J. W.; Dawson, J. O.; Ponder, F., Jr.; Loewenstein, E. F.; Fralish, J. S., eds. Proceedings, 13th central hardwood forest conference; 2002 April 1-3; Urbana, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-234. St. Paul, MN: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 421-424. [62984]
  • 5. Blattel, Christopher R.; Williard, Karl W. J.; Baer, Sara G.; Zaczek, James J. 2005. Abatement of ground water phosphate in giant cane and forest riparian buffers. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 41(2): 301-307. [62972]
  • 23. Dattilo, Adam J.; Rhoades, Charles C. 2005. Establishment of the woody grass Arundinaria gigantea for riparian restoration. Restoration Ecology. 13(4): 616-622. [55814]
  • 87. Schoonover, Jon E.; Williard, Karl W. J. 2003. Ground water nitrate reduction in giant cane and forest riparian buffer zones. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 39(2): 347-354. [62987]
  • 115. Zaczek, James J.; Sexton, Rebecca L.; Williard, Karl W. J.; Groninger, John W. 2003. Propagation of giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) for riparian habitat restoration. In: Riley, Lee E.; Dumroese, R. Kasten; Landis, Thomas D., tech. coords. National proceedings: Forest and Conservation Nursery Associations 2003; 2003 June 9-12; Coeur d'Alene, ID. Proceedings RMRS-P-33. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 103-106. [50206]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: bog, cover, density, swamp

Cane provides high quality forage for cattle, horses, swine, and domestic sheep [62]. Because it is evergreen, cane is good for grazing year-round [4]. Cane was once widely utilized as a forage plant for cattle and domestic sheep across much of the southeastern U.S. In Mississippi cane was once commonly called "mutton grass" because of its value as domestic sheep forage [62]. Because of the dramatic reduction in cane habitat, it is generally no longer considered a valuable range forage plant [46].

Cane is easily damaged by grazing and the rooting of swine, and stands may take years to recover from damage [20,51,91]. Overgrazing is considered 1 of the major factors involved in the decrease of cane habitat in the U.S. following European settlement [7]. Plants are most susceptible to grazing damage in the spring and summer [4]. Continuous summer grazing can cause a decline in cane stem density and a reduction in stem height [54]. According to a 1971 handbook, no more than 50% of the current year's growth should be grazed off in any season. It is also recommended that summer grazing be deferred for at least 90 days every 2 to 3 years. Controlled burns every 3 to 4 years can be used to maintain cane fields and improve forage value. Burned fields must be protected from grazing for the first growing season to allow the cane to recover [62].

Palatability/nutritional value: Where it occurs, cane is 1 of the most palatable and preferred forages by cattle, and it can comprise the bulk of the animal's diet when abundant [91]. The crude protein, calcium, and phosphorus content of cane average higher than other native southern grasses [46]. Digestible nutrients in cane foliage are highest in May and June and decline rapidly during the remainder of the summer and fall [55].

Cover value: Cane provides good cover for nesting birds, small mammals, and reptiles [5,74]. Canebrakes are critical nesting habitat for the Swainson's warbler [7,44,99]. In the South Carolina coastal plain, hooded warblers have a high nesting success rate in dense patches of cane, possibly because the nests are well protected from snake predation [67]. Bachman's warbler historically required extensive canebrakes for nesting, and the possible extinction of this bird is probably related to the disappearance of large canebrakes [72,81]. The white-eyed vireo and Kentucky warbler are also strongly associated with cane [83]. Cane growing in creek valleys provides desirable cover for northern bobwhite [19].

Canebrakes formerly supported high population densities of white-tailed deer, bison, and wild turkeys in the southeastern U.S., and provided good denning cover and escape corridors for black bear and mountain lion [7]. Swamp rabbits utilize canebrakes for cover and browse the foliage and shoots. The rabbits appear to be restricted to canebrakes in southern Indiana and southeastern Missouri [74,98]. The disappearance of large canebrakes has been cited as a causal factor in population declines of bison, black bear, and swamp rabbit in the Southeast [7,74]. White-tailed deer forage switch cane stems only in the spring of the first year following a burn. Thereafter, the stems become too coarse and are no longer palatable [111]. Switch cane is an important summer food of black bears in the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina [22,49]. Meadow voles, southern bog lemmings, and several species of shrew are frequently associated with cane in the Great Dismal Swamp [80]. Golden mice incorporate cane foliage into aboveground nests that are frequently supported by cane stems. American beaver consume living stems and foliage, particularly during late winter when other herbaceous vegetation is unavailable [74].

The southern subspecies of the timber rattlesnake is commonly referred to as the "canebrake rattlesnake" because of its affinity for cane habitats. Cottonmouths, copperheads, and pygmy rattlesnakes are also commonly found in canebrakes, presumably because of the abundance of birds and small rodents that are their prey. In a radio-telemetry study in Virginia, it was found that copperheads spent more time in small canebrakes than the adjacent lowland swamps [74].

At least 6 species of butterfly are considered obligate cane specialists: creole pearly eye, southern pearly eye, southern swamp skipper, cobweb little skipper, cane little skipper, and the yellow little skipper [7].

  • 7. Brantley, Christopher G.; Platt, Steven G. 2001. Canebrake conservation in the southeastern United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 29(4): 1175-1181. [62980]
  • 49. Hellgren, Eric C.; Vaughan, Michael R. 1988. Seasonal food habits of black bears in Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia - North Carolina. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 42: 295-305. [19221]
  • 54. Hughes, Ralph H. 1957. Response of cane to burning in the North Carolina coastal plain. Bulletin No. 402. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 24 p. [34716]
  • 55. Hughes, Ralph H. 1966. Fire ecology of canebrakes. In: Proceedings, 5th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1966 March 24-25; Tallahassee, FL. No. 5. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 148-158. [16236]
  • 62. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17551]
  • 74. Platt, Steven G.; Brantley, Christopher G.; Rainwater, Thomas R. 2001. Canebrake fauna: wildlife diversity in a critically endangered ecosystem. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 117(1): 1-19. [64668]
  • 91. Shepherd, W. O.; Dillard, E. U.; Lucas, H. L. 1951. Grazing and fire influences in pond pine forests. Tech. Bull. No. 97. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. [14546]
  • 4. Biswell, H. H.; Foster, J. E.; Southwell, B. L. 1944. Grazing in cutover pine forests of the Southeast. Journal of Forestry. 42(3): 195-198. [29081]
  • 5. Blattel, Christopher R.; Williard, Karl W. J.; Baer, Sara G.; Zaczek, James J. 2005. Abatement of ground water phosphate in giant cane and forest riparian buffers. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 41(2): 301-307. [62972]
  • 19. Cooperative Quail Study Association. 1961. Ninth and tenth annual reports--1940-41 and 1941-42. In: The Cooperative Quail Study Association: May 1, 1931-May 1, 1943. Misc. Publ. No. 1. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 233-269. [15070]
  • 20. Crawford, Hewlette S.; Kucera, Clair L.; Ehrenreich, John H. 1969. Ozark range and wildlife plants. Agric. Handb. 356. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 236 p. [18602]
  • 22. Daniel, Francis Leonard. 1978. The fall and winter food habits of the black bear (Ursus americanus) in the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia. Norfolk, VA: Old Dominion University. 30 p. Thesis. [21918]
  • 44. Graves, Gary R. 2002. Habitat characteristics in the core breeding range of the Swainson's warbler. The Wilson Bulletin. 114(2): 210-220. [62511]
  • 46. Grelen, Harold E.; Hughes, Ralph H. 1984. Common herbaceous plants of southern forest range. Res. Pap. SO-210. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest and Range Experiment Station. 147 p. [2946]
  • 67. Moorman, Christopher E.; Guynn, David C., Jr.; Kilgo, John C. 2002. Hooded warbler nesting success adjacent to group-selection and clearcut edges in a southeastern bottomland forest. The Condor. 104(2): 366. [62988]
  • 72. Platt, Steven G.; Brantley, Christopher G. 1993. Switchcane: Propagation and establishment in the southeastern United States. Restoration & Management Notes. 11(2): 134-137. [22802]
  • 80. Rose, Robert K. 1981. Small mammals in openings in Virgina's Dismal Swamp. Brimleyana. 6: 45-50. [19400]
  • 81. Rotenberry, John T.; Cooper, Robert J.; Wunderle, Joseph M.; Smith, Kimberly G. 1995. When and how are populations limited? The roles of insect outbreaks, fire, and other natural perturbations. In: Ecology and management of neotropical migratory birds: A synthesis and review of critical issues. New York: Oxford University Press: 55-84. [26801]
  • 83. Sallabanks, Rex; Walters, Jeffrey R.; Collazo, Jaime A. 2000. Breeding bird abundance in bottomland hardwood forests: habitat, edge, and patch size effects. Condor. 102(4): 748-758. [62493]
  • 98. Terrel, Ted L. 1972. The swamp rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus) in Indiana. The American Midland Naturalist. 87(2): 283-295. [63017]
  • 99. Thomas, Brian G.; Wiggers, Ernie P.; Clawson, Richard L. 1996. Habitat selection and breeding status of Swainson's warblers in southern Missouri. Journal of Wildlife Management. 60(3): 611-616. [62532]
  • 111. Wood, Gene W. 1988. Effects of prescribed fire on deer forage and nutrients. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 16: 180-186. [62089]
  • 51. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165]

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Other uses and values

Native Americans utilized cane for a variety of purposes. The stems were used to make spears, arrows, blowguns, pipes, flutes, and fish traps. The leaves were woven into baskets and mats [94]. It is estimated that Native Americans burned cane every 7 to 10 years to maintain and expand canebrakes [7,26]. Cane has also been used as a potherb and for fishing poles [51].
  • 7. Brantley, Christopher G.; Platt, Steven G. 2001. Canebrake conservation in the southeastern United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 29(4): 1175-1181. [62980]
  • 26. DeVivo, Michael S. 1991. Indian use of fire and land clearance in the southern Appalachians. In: Nodvin, Stephen C.; Waldrop, Thomas A., eds. Fire and the environment: ecological and cultural perspectives: Proceedings of an international symposium; 1990 March 20-24; Knoxville, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-69. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 306-310. [16652]
  • 94. Shufer, Vickie. 1999. Dismal Swamp ethnobotany: traditional plant uses. In: Rose, R. K., ed. The natural history of the Great Dismal Swamp. Madison, WI: Omni Press: 75-84. [42230]
  • 51. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165]

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Uses

Giant cane provides high quality forage for cattle, horses, hogs, and sheep. It is valued for summer grazing in northern part of range and for winter grazing in states along the gulf coast. Stems of this grass are also used for fishing poles, pipe stems, baskets, and mats.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Risks

Ecological Threat in the United States

Bamboos can form very dense single-species thickets that displace native plant species and create dense shade that makes it difficult for seedlings of native species to survive. Once established, they can be very difficult to eradicate.

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Wikipedia

Arundinaria gigantea

Arundinaria gigantea is a species of bamboo known by the common names giant cane (not to be confused with Arundo donax) and river cane. It is native to the United States, where it occurs in the south-central and southeastern states as far west as Texas and as far north as New York. This species is divided into two subspecies. The subspecies tecta is sometimes treated as a species in its own right, Arundinaria tecta, and is the taxon generally called switch cane.[1][2] It is very similar to ssp. gigantea, but is often smaller and tends to grow in wetter habitat types, such as swamps.[3]

This bamboo, which is a species of cane, is a perennial grass with a rounded, hollow stem which can exceed 7 centimetres (2.8 inches) in diameter and grow to a height of 10 metres (33 feet). It grows from a large network of thick rhizomes. The lance-shaped leaves are up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) long and 4 cm (1.6 in) wide. The inflorescence is a raceme or panicle of spikelets measuring 4 to 7 cm (1.6 to 2.8 in) in length. An individual cane has a lifespan of about 10 years.[1][3] Most reproduction is vegetative as the bamboo sprouts new stems from its rhizome. It rarely produces seeds and it flowers irregularly. Sometimes it flowers gregariously.[4] It and other species of Arundinaria may grow in large monotypic colonies called canebrakes. Canebrakes were once a common feature of the landscape in the southeastern United States, but today it is an endangered ecosystem.[1]

This native plant is a member of several plant communities today, generally occurring as a component of the understory or midstory. It grows in pine forests dominated by loblolly, slash, longleaf, and shortleaf pine, and stands of oaks, cypress, ash, and cottonwood. Other plants in the understory include inkberry (Ilex glabra), creeping blueberry (Vaccinium crassifolium), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), blue huckleberry (Gaylussacia frondosa), pineland threeawn (Aristida stricta), cutover muhly (Muhlenbergia expansa), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and toothache grass (Ctenium aromaticum). Cane communities occur on floodplains, bogs, riparian woods, pine barrens and savannas, and pocosins. It grows easily in flooded and saturated soils.[1] It tolerates wildfire, and canebrakes are maintained by a normal fire regime. Some types of non-native bamboos are easily confused with this native cane.[5]

Canebrakes declined after European settlement of the American southeast. Factors involved in the decline include the introduction of livestock such as cattle, which eagerly graze on the leaves. The cane was considered a good forage for the animals until overgrazing began to eliminate canebrake habitat.[1] Other reasons for the decline include the conversion of the land for agriculture,[6] and fire suppression.[7]

This cane is the food plant for the Southern Pearly Eye, a butterfly.[5] Canebrake is an important habitat for the Swainson's, Hooded, and Kentucky Warblers, and the White-eyed Vireo. The disappearance of the canebrake ecosystem may have contributed to the rarity and possible extinction of the Bachman's Warbler, which was dependent upon it for nesting sites.[1][8]

There are many human uses for the cane. The Cherokee, particularly the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,[9] used and still use this species in basketry.[10] The Cherokee historically maintained canebrakes with cutting and periodic burning, a practice which stopped with the European settlement of the land.[7] The elimination of cane habitat has nearly resulted in the loss of the art of basketmaking,[9] [11] which is important for the economy of the Cherokee today.[12] The cane was also used by groups such as the Cherokee, Seminole, and Choctaw to make medicine, blowguns, bows and arrows, knives, spears, flutes, candles, walls for dwellings,[10] fish traps, sleeping mats, and tobacco pipes.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Taylor, Jane E. (2006). Arundinaria gigantea. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Retrieved 12-12-2011.
  2. ^ Arundinaria gigantea. USDA Plants Profile. Retrieved 12-12-2011.
  3. ^ a b Arundinaria gigantea and A. tecta. Grass Manual Treatment. Retrieved 12-12-2011.
  4. ^ Platt, S. G., et al. (2004). Observations of flowering cane (Arundinacea gigantea) in Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Proc Louisiana Acad Sci 66 17-25. Retrieved 12-13-2011.
  5. ^ a b Arundinaria gigantea. University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. Retrieved 12-13-2011.
  6. ^ Dattilo, A. J. and C. C. Rhoades. (2005). Establishment of the woody grass Arundinaria gigantea for riparian restoration. Restoration Ecology 13(4) 616-22.
  7. ^ a b Bugden, J. L., et al. (2011). Mapping existing and potential river cane (Arundinaria gigantea) habitat in western North Carolina. (Report). Southeastern Geographer. Retrieved 12-13-2011.
  8. ^ Bachman's Warbler. BirdLife International Species Profile. Retrieved 12-13-2011.
  9. ^ a b Valigra, L. In Cherokee country, reviving a tree's deep roots. National Geographic News (November 7, 2005). Retrieved 12-13-2011.
  10. ^ a b Arundinaria gigantea. University of Michigan Ethnobotany. Retrieved 12-13-2011.
  11. ^ WCU helps Cherokee artists harvest natural materials. Western Carolina University Office of Public Relations. (November 6, 2008). Retrieved 12-13-2011.
  12. ^ a b Preserving the past: A guide for North Carolina landowners. North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Retrieved 12-13-2011.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

More info for the terms: presence, rhizome

The scientific name of cane is Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. (Poaceae).
Some systematists recognize 2 subspecies of cane [58,64,114]:

A. gigantea subsp. gigantea (Walt.) Muhl., giant cane

A. gigantea subsp. tecta (Walt.) McClure, switch cane
The taxonomy of Arundinaria species in the United States has been
confusing and poorly understood. Switchcane and giant cane are sometimes considered
distinct species [8,18,38,39,46,48,51]. Plant height and the height,
position of the seed heads, and rhizome structure (air canals) are
sometimes used to differentiate the infrataxa of cane in the United States.
However, plants often exhibit wide ranges in height growth on different sites,
and flower and seed production tends to be sporadic or rare. The presence or
absence of air canals in the rhizomes is another primary factor used to differentiate between subspecies; however, this
criterion is also somewhat inconclusive [8,46,64]. Hughes [53] commented on the
difficulty of cane taxonomy by saying, "it seems that the criteria used to
differentiate A. gigantea from A. tecta are of
questionable validity". Gilly [38] was 1 of the early taxonomists to suggest
that only 1 species of Arundinaria was native to North America. In much
of the literature, both A. gigantea and A. gigantea subsp. gigantea
are called "giant cane", and A. gigantea subsp. tecta
is usually referred to as "switch cane". For this review, the
species in general is called cane,
A. gigantea subsp. gigantea is called giant cane, and
A. gigantea subsp. tecta is called switch cane.
  • 18. Connor, Kristina. 2004. Arudinaria gigantea. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 91-92. [52111]
  • 39. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 48. Hall, David W. 1978. The grasses of Florida. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 498 p. Dissertation. [53560]
  • 53. Hughes, Ralph H. 1951. Observations of cane (Arundinaria) flowers, seed, and seedlings in the North Carolina Coastal Plain. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 78(2): 113-121. [63018]
  • 64. McClure, F. A. 1973. Genera of Bamboos native to the New World (Gramineae: Bambusoideae). In: Soderstrom, Thomas R., ed. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany No. 9. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 148 p. [65474]
  • 8. Brown, Clair A. 1929. Notes on Arundinaria. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 56(6 ): 315-318. [62998]
  • 38. Gilly, Charles L. 1943. A preliminary investigation of the North American canes (Arundinaria). Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 70(3): 297-309. [62999]
  • 46. Grelen, Harold E.; Hughes, Ralph H. 1984. Common herbaceous plants of southern forest range. Res. Pap. SO-210. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest and Range Experiment Station. 147 p. [2946]
  • 114. Wunderlin, Richard P. 1998. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida. 806 p. [28655]
  • 51. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165]
  • 58. Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. 1999. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. In: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]

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Common Names

cane

giant cane

switch cane

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Synonyms

Species synonyms―

Arundinaria macrosperma (Michx.) [8,18,38,39,113]

Arundo gigantea Walter [18,64]

   = Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. [38,39,48,58,64,97,110,114]

Subspecies synonyms―

A. tecta (Walt.) Muhl. [38,39,48,51,77,114]

Arundo tecta Walt. [18,58,64,101]

   = Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. subsp.
tecta (Walt.) McClure [16,42,58,114]

A. gigantea (Walt.) Muhl ssp. macrosperma (Michx.) McClure [16,42,64]

   = A. gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. subsp. gigantea [58,64,114]
  • 110. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]
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