This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Spikelets on female plants mostly five-flowered, pedicellate; glumes about equal in length and lanceolate with conspicuous middle nerves and bicuspidate tips; upper palets shorter than the hairs; the lower three-nerved, their long bristle points exceeding the copious silky hairs in length and thickness. Spikelets on male plant three-flowered, pedicellate, with clusters of short hairs at their base; glumes bicuspidate; panicles more contracted than those of the female, varying from white to rusty brown in color, and less valuable for ornamental purposes.
This description of the Arundo conspicua so nearly corresponds with that of the Pampas Grass, Gynerium argenteum, that it applies almost as well to the one as to the other; and yet there are differences betwixt the two which should not be overlooked. The Pampas Grass has the broadest and widest spreading foliage; the glumes not so generally cleft at the tips as are those of the other, and perhaps the panicles are clothed with a softer and more delicate wool. But as both are strictly dioeceous and also possessed of several other features in common, we are inclined to think they belong to the same genus - and perhaps no violence would be done to any rule of classification were the one to be regarded as a species, the other as a variety. Under this impression I exhibited a plant of the Arundo conspicua, so-called, at a horticultural meeting last Fall, bearing the name of Gyne-rium argenteum Novae Zealandiae, and will continue so to designate it until some one in authority shows why it should receive another name.