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Characteristics of Arundinaria gigantea 'Macon'
This species is one of two bamboo that are native to the continental United States. It grows to a height of 20 feet with a diameter of 1 inch. It is very adapted to swampy sites and unlike other temperate bamboo it can be planted in areas that do not drain.
This species is the native bamboo and once covered thousand of acres in North America. It is very cold hardy and worth adding to your collection because of its beauty and native status. Adapts well to all sites and even handles erosion problems. It was naturally found along streams and rivers through out the south. Adapts well to swampy and damp planting sites. Gigantea is growing at the Denver Zoo, USDA Climate Zone 5, and has attained .75 inch diameter canes by 6 to 7 feet in height after 12 years of establishment. While it will not mature at the taller heights of warmer climate zones, it makes an excellent short screening bamboo for very cold climate zones in high elevations.
Native American's loved hunting in the 'canebrakes' because they were the hiding grounds of bears, deer, panthers, wildcats, turkeys and other small game. The branches of this bamboo are short, usually much less than 12 inches, stiff, and are initiated before the culms reach full height.
These canes have a broad tolerance for weather and soil. They grow from sea level to 2,000 feet in the Appalachian Mountains. They have been found growing in all types of soil from sandy, rock cliffs and mountain slopes to muck lands and rich alluvial areas of the coastal plains. They can withstand extreme temperatures of -10 degrees to 105 degrees.