This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Arborescent or shrubby grasses, with simple or branched culms and flat short-petioled leaf-blades which are articulated with the sheath. Spikelets borne in panicles or racemes, 2-many-flowered, large, compressed. Empty scales 1 or 2, the first sometimes wanting; flowering scales longer, not keeled, many nerved; palets scarcely shorter than the scales, prominently 2-keeled. Lodicules 3. Stamens 3. Styles 2 or 3. Stigmas plumose. Grain furrowed, free, enclosed in the scale and palet. [From Arundo, the Latin name of the Reed.]
Spikelets borne on radical shoots of the year; culms 140 tall or less.
Spikelets borne on the old culms, which are 160 tall or more.
Arundo tecta Walt. Fl. Car. 81. 1788. Arundinaria tecta Muhl. Gram. 191. 1817.
Culms 3°-14° tall, erect, shrubby, branching at the summit, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths longer than the internodes, smooth or rough, ciliate on the margins; ligule bristly; blades lanceolate, 3 1/2-8' long, 4"-12" wide, flat, more or less pubescent beneath, glabrous above; racemes terminal, or on short leafless culms; spikelets 7-10-flowered, 1'- 1 1/2' long, on pedicels I in length or less, which are sometimes pubescent; empty scales unequal, the first usually very small, sometimes wanting; flowering scales 6"-10" long, acute or acuminate.
A. macrosperma Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 1: 74. 1803.
Culms woody, 16°-30° tall, finally branched above; sheaths ciliate on the margins, otherwise glabrous; blades lanceolate, smooth or roughish, l° long or less, the larger i0"-i5" wide, those on the ultimate divisions smaller and crowded at the summit of the branches; inflorescence on the old wood, the spikelets 1 1/2'-2 1/2' long, on slender more or less leafy branches, the flowering scales glabrous or hirsute, acuminate.
Forming "cane brakes" along rivers and swamps, Virginia to Florida, west to Louisiana, and along the Mississippi River and its tributaries as far north as Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. May-July.