Arundinaria reed (Arundinaria species)

Also known as: Simon bamboo

Arundinaria reed is a small to large bamboo-like plant. The only arundinaria reed currently known to be a problem in Australia is known as Simon bamboo, which has naturalised on Lord Howe Island.


How does this weed affect you?

Arundinaria reed is a small to large bamboo-like plant. The only Arundinaria species currently known to be a problem in Australia is Simon bamboo (Arundinaria simonii f. variegata), which has naturalised on Lord Howe Island.

Arundinaria reed was originally introduced as an ornamental bamboo. It grows in thick clumps and has the potential to become a serious weed of urban bushlands, roadsides and open woodland areas.

On Lord Howe Island it has spread from gardens into nearby World Heritage environmental areas. It out-competes native vegetation and prevents the growth of understorey species. Thick stands disrupt the nesting and burrowing behaviours of native birds.

Where is it found?

About eight species of Arundinaria occur worldwide. Native species originate from Asia and North America. It is a widely cultivated plant, mostly for ornamental purposes. It has been distributed into Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, the Cook Islands and Australia.

Many types of cane, reed and bamboo type grasses exist within Australia. Arundinaria reed is only known to be present in NSW. It occurs as isolated infestations on Lord Howe Island and in small localised areas near Manly and Wagga Wagga in NSW.

How does it spread?

Arundinaria reed is fast growing and mostly spreads by sending out underground runners. These runners produce new plants as straight, upright shoots. Most localised spread occurs in this way. It can also spread by seed, but this is less common.

New shoots are produced late spring to early summer. Flowering occurs at irregular times throughout the year, if at all.

What does it look like?

Arundinaria reed is an evergreen long-lived perennial grass, capable of growing to 13 m high.


  • green in colour
  • cylindrical
  • 0.5–6 cm in diameter
  • commonly 3–6 m tall with many nodes (joints) along its length
  • hollow between each node (internode)
  • mostly erect, with younger branches slight drooping


  • consist of a leaf sheath (part that wraps around the stem) and a leaf blade
  • leaf blades have smooth edges, are 10–25 cm long and 1.5–2.5 cm wide tapering to a point at the end
  • have a short stalk at the base of the leaf blade where it joins the leaf sheath
  • parallel veins run along the length of the blade


  • varies between a slender and single stalked spike; and a multi-branched cluster, with each branch containing many smaller flower spikelets
  • spikelets are thin and oval in shape, 3–11 mm long and contain many flowers

What type of environment does it grow in?

Arundinaria reed prefers semi-tropical or warmer temperate climates. It can tolerate part-shade through to full sun.


Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (2011) Simon bamboo: Arundinaria simonii, Queensland Government. Available at

Department of the Environment (2011) Weeds in Australia: Arundinaria spp. Australian Government. Available at:

Ensbey, R (2011) Noxious and environmental weed control handbook. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange. Available at

Green PS (2014) Arundinaria PlantNET - The Plant Information Network System of The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia. Available at

Zhu, Zheng-de; De-zhu, Li; Stapleton, Chris (2007), "Arundinaria", in Wu, Z. Y.; Raven, P.H.; Hong, D.Y., Flora of China 22, Beijing: Science Press; St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Available at

More information

back to top


Physical removal of Arundinaria reed gives the best results.

Herbicide methods of application include cut stump and foliar spray. Cut stump can be applied at anytime of the year. Foliar spray can be used on regrowth up to 0.5 m tall.

All infestations should be regularly monitored and regrowth treated.

Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website

See Using herbicides for more information.

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray. Spray regrowth up to 0.5 m only.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 1.5 parts water
Comments: Cut stump. Retreatment necessary.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

back to top

Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

back to top

For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2014