- Author: Chris M. Webb
Arundo (Arundo donax) is an invasive plant present in our local waterways. It can grow at a rate of four inches per day, making it one of the fastest-growing land plants in the world, and can reach heights of 30 feet tall. It reproduces and spreads when sections of the stem or root break off and float downstream.
Originally introduced by European immigrants as material for making musical instruments, it was also used for roofing materials in California in the early 1800’s. Later it was used for erosion control. Using arundo for erosion control turned out to be a bad choice as it is extremely damaging to our native ecosystems.
Arundo requires a significant amount of water to grow, reducing available water for native plants, fish, wildlife and people. In addition, clumps of arundo and the soil around their roots can break off, causing streambank erosion. Furthermore, these clumps may create channel obstructions that lead to flooding.
In addition to displacing native plants and destroying native fish and wildlife habitat, arundo is highly flammable and can quickly carry fire along waterways. After a fire, arundo quickly grows back from its roots. With other nearby plants burned by fire, arundo can spread even more quickly, leaving no room for native plants to recover.
To help reduce the spread of this plant and the destruction it causes, take the following actions:
- Learn more about arundo, including how to identify it
- Report sightings to local conservation groups
- Join local eradication efforts or help to start one
- If you own land with an arundo infestation, request help and provide access for control efforts.
Arundo is highly flammable.
Arundo can grow at a rate of four inches per day.