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Arundinaria tecta (Walt.) Muhl.

Small Cane, Switch Cane

Modern name

Arundinaria gigantea subsp. tecta (Walter) McClure


A. macrosperma var. tecta Wood; Arundo tecta Walt.

Stems up to 7 ft high, cylindrical, hollow, branching at the upper joints with the branches slightly spreading. Stem-sheaths mostly as long as the internodes of the stem, persistent, fringed with hairs, and slightly downy when young, becoming glabrous. Leaves narrow-oblong, 5 to 10 in. long, 34 to 112 in. wide, downy beneath; secondary veins six or seven each side the midrib.

Native of the south-eastern United States, from Maryland to Illinois and southwards. It is by some authors regarded as a variety of A. gigantea (macrosperma), a taller species sometimes over 30 ft high, which inhabits the swamps and river-sides of the Southern States. Both species form dense, scarcely penetrable thickets, known as ‘cane-brakes’. In the old slave days these cane-brakes were of the greatest service to escaping negroes in affording shelter and hiding from their pursuers. As an ornamental bamboo for gardens, A. tecta is second-rate. It spreads by suckers, and has not been known to flower in this country.



Other species in the genus