Switch Cane - Small Cane
Arundinaria tecta (Walter) Muhlenberg
Poaceae (Grass) Family

The rhizomes of Switch Cane are normally horizontal for only a short distance before turning up to form a culm (hollow-center stalk), with air canals present. Culms are usually shorter than 3 feet tall. The internodes are terete (cylindrical or slightly tapering, and without substantial furrows or ridges) in the vegetative parts.

The leaves are presistent to tardily deciduous; sheaths are 2-3/4 inch; blades are thin. The topknots of 9 to 12 leaves are about 11-18 cm; fringe is about 1-1/4 inch; blades 1-1/2 inch. Topknots consists of 9-12 leaves, which blades are about 1 ro 3 inches across and thin; lance-like to ovate-lanceolate.

The primary branche stems are usually about 7 to 8 inches, basally erect and bony and curved, with 2 to 4 compressed basal internodes; basal nodes develope secondary branches that are elongated in cross section.

Foliage leaves are abaxial (facing away from the surface of the stem) with finger-like projections, sometimes hairy, densely pubescent or smooth, strongly cross veined, adaxial surfaces are downy.

Spikelets are 3 to 5 cm, with 6 to 12 florets, the first occasionally sterile.

The flower buds (glumes) are unequal, smooth or downy; the lowest glume is obtuse to acuminate or absent. The caryopses are oblong, beaked, a rudimentary hooked style branch is present below the beak.

Arundinaria tecta grows in swampy woods, moist pine barrens, live oak woods, and along the sandy margins of streams, preferring moister sites than its taller cousin, A. gigantea. It grows only on the coastal plain of the southeastern United States.

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