Non-Invasive Characteristics - The Facts about Arundo Donax
Other than active waterways and the associated flood dispersal, Arundo donax has shown no examples of unwanted expansion or invasion. This is primarily due to its non-invasive characteristics including no airborne dispersal due to the lack of viable seed, pollen or spore, slow root expansion and no runner, vine or surface expansion.
“Arundo donax is limited in its dispersal ability. Unlike some invasive bamboos, Arundo Donax rhizomes have a limited spreading growth habit, with plants forming well defined clumps (Lewandowski et al., 2003). Most significantly, no fertile seed production has been reported for Arundo Donax in the USA (DiTomaso and Healy, 2007) or Australia. Williams et al., (2008) found no fertile seeds when 400 seeds per stand were tested from five wild stands in South Australia. Not only is there no report of viable seeds, but no embryo is formed (Bhanwra et al., 1982) and no pollen produced.” - Balogh, Czako and Marion, unpublished). (C. Williams et al. Arundo Donax in Australia and USA ISHS, 2009
“Arundo donax is only likely to be invasive when planted in riparian and floodplain systems, particularly those subject to torrential flooding such as arise from annual snow melts in California. Away from such aquatic systems, there is limited potential for rhizome and stem fragments to be broken off and spread.” - C. Williams et al. Arundo Donax in Australia and USA ISHS, 2009
In an email dated 8/6/09, Lazlo Marton, Ph.D., writes…“There is no microspore (from which pollen could develop) and no functional macrospores (development of the embryo sack) therefore no eggs formed. The caryopsises also cannot form any kind of functional vegetative propagule. There is zero possibility of seed production.” - Lazlo Marton, Ph.D., CBS, Professor of Biology, Director of PSMP in Biotechnology Environmental Genetic Engineering Department of Biological Sciences University of South Carolina Columbia
“Microscopic studies indicated no pollen and no embryo development, which resulted in total sterility (no seed).” - C. Williams et al. Arundo Donax in Australia and USA ISHS, 2009
Non Invasive Solution
“It is important to understand that many non-invasive, important and beneficial crops that are necessary to the wellbeing of communities, economies and society in general could in effect also be labeled as invasive should they be incorrectly introduced into riparian environments, mismanaged or neglected in a similar fashion.” - Dr. Rafael A. Ortiz Quezada, Ph.D.
A Non-Invasive Solution - Arundo Donax
A few Conservation and Environmental organizations have flooded the Internet with invasive weed reports calling Arundo donax an invasive species. Misinformation persists and the plant is being described with characteristics that are scientifically proven to be untrue.
Experts have proven that Arundo donax is sterile, with no viable spore, seed or pollen. Unlike Bamboo with its quickly spreading and aggressive roots system, Arundo donax’s roots tend to clump and expand slowly at the rate of l/2 meter per year. Unlike Kudzu, Arundo donax is not a vine and does not spread by runners establishing new roots, climbing and choking what is in their path.
There are a number of examples of Arundo donax grown using properly managed agricultural practices showing no signs of invasiveness in countries including Greece, Italy, Australia, Honduras, and the United States. There are photographed and surveyed strands of Arundo donax in multiple locations that are decades old showing no change in area or location. This debunks the invasiveness myth.
The European Union, Arundo Donax Productivity Net writes, "Giant reed is one of the most cost-effective crops. It is environmentally friendly and presents large potential by selection and improvement to become the champion of biomass crops."
(FAIR- CT96-2028 E.U. Arundo Donax Productivity Net)
EPA Issues Supplemental Final Rule for New Qualifying Renewable Fuels under the RFS Program
Office of Transportation and Air Quality
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a supplemental final rule associated with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. This rule contains a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) analysis for renewable fuels made from giant reed (Arundo donax) and napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum), and a regulatory determination that such fuels qualify as cellulosic renewable fuel under the RFS program. EPA is addressing concerns over the potential for these feedstocks to behave as invasive species by adopting a set of new registration, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements that apply only to fuels produced under these pathways.