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River Cane - Arundinaria
River Cane (Arundinaria) is the only native bamboo type of canes that are found in North America. It is a member of the grass family. River cane can mostly be found in rural wetland or swamp areas and along flood planes. It is a very fast growing plant. It is a great landscaping plant for lakes or ponds. River Cane is native to south central to the southeastern United States. River cane grows best in sandy loam to clay loam soil and tolerates heat and humidity well. This type of bamboo can grow in the ground or containers. Special care is required for planting river cane and establishing a strong root system. It can be planted in a garden bed that has good drainage. Well, drained soil requires more water than a rich clay soil, Rivercane needs plenty of water, but not so much that the plant drowns. When planting in garden beds or containers, one must keep this in mind for watering. It has a distinctive fan-like cluster of leaves at the top of new stems, called the top knot. River Cane has a natural tendency to form monodominant stands called canebrakes. As a monopod, river cane grows upward from a single point. It will grow for decades, flower once and then die immediately afterward. Newly sprouted cane can reach its maximum height within just a matter of weeks. River cane produces rarely produces seeds; they usually reproduce vegetatively. When seed production does occur, the colony uses dies afterward. Once it is harvested the river cane can be used for basket weaving and many other crafts; it is also commonly used in decorative pots indoors. The river cane thrives in moist conditions and can be found around the edge of the water. This is a warm weather grass and will grow very well in summer months. This is a delicious grass to attract birds and small wildlife.
Grass is a very generic term for many different types of plants. There are over four hundred different types of cane. Canes, such as river cane comes from bamboo which comes from the generalized grass family. This type of cane can be found all over the world, In the United States though it is usually found more on the east coast into a little of the central section of the United States. River cane grows in a tree-like form anywhere from one and a half feet up to twenty-six feet tall. Canes do not produce many seeds and when the plant does typically the whole colony will die after the seeds have dispersed.
Cane has always been an important part of society, especially in the early English colonies that settled in America. Cane, especially river cane was used by the Native Americans for just about everything from their houses to weapons, and even jewelry and medicine, plus much more. This plan not only was a valuable resource in those aspects, but it also made for ideal land to attract wild game and was used to food livestock year-round. Cane production and use for trade significantly decreased due to land being cleared, farmers, and fires. At one-point cane was even used as a fuel, and some parts can be consumed by people.
To this day Native Americans still use river cane to weave baskets, make jewelry, to eat, and many other uses. When river cane is properly dried and stored it can last several years and still be used. However, use caution if attempting to gather seeds as there is an extremely toxic fungus that also loves cans seeds and will fertilize the seeds as well. If a river cane plant is infected, then there will be pink or purple colored splotches or growths visible about the same size as a seed or can be up to several times larger.