• Up to 25 ft. tall and 1.5 in. thick; semi-woody, inflexible and hollow except at the nodes; branching usually does not occur until the second year of growth
Photo of giant reed


  • Alternate; blade is flat, less than 3 ft. long and 1-3 in. wide; edges (margins) are rough textured
  • Leaf base is lobed, clasps the stem and is fringed with long hairs  
Photo of giant reed plant



  • Plume-like with numerous fine branches; 1-2 ft. long and light-brown to purple; does NOT produce viable seed 
Photo of giant reed plant with hairy ends


  • Creeping rhizomes
Photo of giant reed plants growing on the side of a road.
Photo of Giant reed infestation



  • Grows best in moist soils; known to occur in Churchill, Clark, Mineral, Nye and Washoe counties 
  • Perennial; reproduces by rhizomes and stem fragments
  • Resembles bamboo; historically planted to reduce erosion and sometimes planted today as an ornamental


  • Hand removal of small populations can be effective; mowing and tillage are NOT recommended as they produce root and stem fragments that generate new plants
  • Apply glyphosate, imazapyr or triclopyr after seedhead formation in late summer or fall to foliage or cut stump; treat regrowth in spring or summer of the following year 
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Giant reed, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide

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Also of Interest:

Giant Reed
This fact sheet contains extensive information on Giant reed by discussing the features, possible actions, and benefits to controlling giant reed.
Johnson, W. and Strom, S. 2021, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-06-21

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