Description from Flora of China
Aira bengalensis (Retzius) J. F. Gmelin; Amphidonax bengalensis (Retzius) Nees ex Steudel (1854), not Roxburgh ex Nees (1836); Arundo bengalensis Retzius; A. coleotricha (Hackel) Honda; A. donax var. coleotricha Hackel; Donax arundinaceus P. Beauvois; D. bengalensis (Retzius) P. Beauvois; Scolochloa donax (Linnaeus) Gaudin.
Robust reed from a thick knotty rhizome. Culms very stout, erect, 2–6 m tall, 1–1.5 cm in diam., unbranched or with bamboolike clusters of slender branches from nodes. Leaf sheaths longer than internodes, usually glabrous except long pilose at mouth; leaf blades 30–60 × 2–5 cm, margins scabrous, tapering to a slender filiform apex; ligule 0.7–1.5 mm. Panicle 30–60 cm, dense, usually purplish; branches 10–25 cm, ascending. Spikelets 10–15 mm, florets 2–5; glumes narrowly lanceolate, 8–12 mm, 3–5-veined, lower glume acute, upper glume sharply acuminate; lemmas linear-lanceolate, 8–11 mm, 3–7-veined, dorsal hairs 5–6 mm, apex minutely bidentate with 1–2 mm awnlet from sinus, lateral veins also shortly extended; palea 1/2 length of lemma body. Fl. and fr. Oct–Dec.
Forms with variegated leaf blades are sometimes cultivated in gar-dens, e.g., var. versicolor (Miller) Stokes (Arundo versicolor Miller), with longitudinally green- and white-striped leaf blades. Arundo donax var. coleotricha refers to a wild variant with pubescent leaf sheaths.
The culms have many uses, including light construction, basket making, matting, musical pipes, and ornaments.
River banks and other damp places, but it will also grow when planted in dryish habitats. Fujian, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam; N Africa, C and SW Asia, S Europe; widely introduced elsewhere].