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Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed is native to eastern Asia and was first introduced into North America in the late 1800s. It was used as an ornamental plant on properties and also for erosion control due to its deep and interwoven root system.



Reproduction occurs both by rhizomes (lateral growing roots) and seeds, making this plant extremely hard to eradicate. The plant has also been known to reproduce simply from cuttings which allows for many means of dispersion.


The stands are so dense that they shade out other plant species, reducing wildlife habitat for native species. This plant is extremely hard to eradicate once established, so the key it preventing establishment by manually removing immature clusters. Along river banks, the shallow root growth can cause unstable banks, which is exacerbated by knotweed dying back in the fall.


As previously stated, knotweed has the ability to regrow full plants from its cuttings as well as from its rhizomes (root structure) and seeds. Due to this, knotweed cannot simply be cut down, but must be dug up with the entire root structure and disposed of fully. Plants should be removed from the site and either disposed of in black plastic bags, or at the town composting facility. A “cut-and-dab” approach can be used if woody root can be exposed. Foliar spray is not recommended as it can be harmful to the surrounding floura and fauna. See the invasive removal page for how to carry out these methods. Any removal within 100 feet of wetland resource areas, including certified vernal pools, or within 200 feet of a perennial stream may require approval from the Concord Natural Resources Commission. Please contact the Division of Natural Resources before you begin.

Plants Mistaken for Bamboo

This is not bamboo of any form. It goes by the name “Lucky Bamboo” and is Dracaena Sanderana it belongs to the Liliaceae. It does not belong to any of the 76 documented genera embracing over 1200 species of bamboo worldwide. The common name is Lucky Bamboo or million bamboos. It has been a common “good luck” gift. It grows best in soil but is often sold with the roots in water. The plant just needs to be kept wet and out of direct sunlight. It gets its’ common name because it resembles bamboo in appearance, with segmented stems, but it is not a bamboo at all.


Also called Snake Grass and Puzzle Grass. Commonly called horsetail because of the appearance of many of the varieties. It can also present in green segmented stems absent of foliage. It is also commonly called candock for the branching varieties and scouring-rush for the unbranched or sparsely branched species.

Giant Reed

This is a tall perennial cane that can have a corn like appearance. Can attain a size up to 20-30′ tall and 1.5″ in diameter. It rapid growth has made it an attractive planting for energy and cellulose crops in many markets. Also used extensively for woodwind reeds.

Heavenly Bamboo

It also goes by the name of sacred bamboo. However, it is a shrub of the Barberry family (Berberidaceae). It can attain a height of 6′-8′ tall with evergreen foliage. The plant is categorized as poisonous because of high concentrations of hydrocyanic acid.

Japanese Knotweed

Syn. Polygonum cuspidatum, Reynoutria japonica. Belongs to the Polygonaceae family. Has the bamboo appearance of raised nodes with hollow stem structure. Considered a weed and invasive by many countries. It is on the world’s 100 worst invasive species and is definitely not bamboo.

Bamboo Palm

This plant is a clumping palm that can grow to about 10′ tall. Very similar in appearance to bamboo. Suited for tropical and subtropical environments, native understory plants in rainforests. Typically used for container plantings.

Dumb Cane

There are 56 different species in this genus. It presents like bamboo in the fact that it has a straight stem with simple alternating leaves. It is a tropical flowering plant that is typically only cold hardy to 41°F. Because of the cold hardiness, it is typically only used as an indoor container plant. It is native to the New World tropics and named after Joseph Dieffenbach (1796-1863).

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About Lewis Bamboo

A family owned and operated bamboo nursery located in Alabama. We are one of North America’s largest bamboo nurseries, and have been serving our customers for over 25 years.