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History in the United States
Giant reed was probably first introduced into the United States at Los Angeles, California in the early 1800's. Since then, it has become widely dispersed into all of the subtropical and warm temperate areas of the world, mostly through intentional human introductions. Today, giant reed is widely planted throughout the warmer areas of the United States as an ornamental and in the Southwest, where it is used along ditches for erosion control.
Giant reed has a variety of uses ranging from music to medicine. Primitive pipe organs were made from it and the reeds for woodwind instruments are still made from its culms, for which no satisfactory substitutes are known. It is also used in basketry, for fishing rods, livestock fodder, medicine, and soil erosion control.