Arundo donax, Cyprus cane,
Hebrew: עבקנה שכיח, Arabic: ضيبا صوب Boos Abiyad

Scientific name:  Arundo donax L.
Common name:  Giant reed, Cyprus cane
Hebrew name:   עבקנה שכיח
Arabic name:  قصب, Qasab
Family:  Gramineae / Poaceae, דגניים

Arundo donax, Cyprus cane, ضيبا صوب Boos Abiyad, עבקנה שכיח

Life form:  Phanerophyte, shrub
Stems:  9 m tall, stems erect, hollow, and glabrous 4 cm in diameter with somewhat swollen nodes; thick, fleshy rhizomes form creeping rootstocks, yielding dense colonies
Leaves:  Alternate. entire
Flowers:  Green, purple
Fruits / pods:  Seeds rarely fertile
Flowering Period:  July, August, September, October, November, December
Habitat:   Humid habitats
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Deserts and extreme deserts
Chorotype:   Med - Irano-Turanian
Summer shedding:  Perenating

Arundo donax, Cyprus cane, ضيبا صوب Boos Abiyad, עבקנה שכיח


Derivation of the botanical name:
Arundo, a reed, cane.
donax, donakos (Greek) for a kind of reed.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
The reed of Palestine and Egypt is the "Arundo donax", Agmon. This plant was used for walking-sticks, measuring-rods, fishing-rods, and musical pipes.
Among the instruments used for measuring small units of length, the Bible mentions the "measuring reed".
It was used quite frequently as an instrument used to measure the temple (Ezek. 40:3ff.; 42:16; Zech. 2:1: Rev. 11:1).
He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway. (Ezekiel 40:3)
The Bible mentions five small units of length: kaneh (qaneh), "reed"; ammah, "cubit"; zeret, "span"; ṭefaḥ/ṭofaḥ, "handbreadth"; and eẓba, "fingerbreadth." The most important and basic measure was the cubit.
The measuring "reed," = 6 cubits. The "full reed," = six "great" cubits. The great cubit is "one cubit + one hand breath." 6 hand breadths = one standard cubit, the great cubit = 7 handbreadths.
The greater cubit was measured from the elbow to the end of the middle finger (a little over 2 feet), and the ordinary cubit, from the elbow to the wrist (about 21 inches).
Arundo donax is generally believed to have been the "staff of the bruised reed" to which Sennacherib compared the power of Egypt in II Kings 18:21 and Ezekiel 29:6-7.

Bible resources:
  1. Kings 18:21
    Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.
  2. Job 40:21
    He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
  3. Isaiah 19:6
    And they shall turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither.
  4. Isaiah 19:7
    The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more.
  5. Isaiah 35:7
    And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. Isaiah 36:6
    Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.
  6. Isaiah 42:3
    A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
  7. Jeremiah 51:32
    And that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.
  8. Ezekiel 29:6
    And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.
  9. Ezekiel 40:3
    And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.
  10. Ezekiel 40:5
    And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed. Ezekiel 40:6
    Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east, and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad; and the other threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad.
  11. Ezekiel 40:7
    And every little chamber was one reed long, and one reed broad; and between the little chambers were five cubits; and the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate within was one reed.
  12. Ezekiel 40:8
    He measured also the porch of the gate within, one reed.
  13. Ezekiel 41:8
    I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits.
  14. Ezekiel 42:16
    He measured the east side with the measuring reed, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed round about.
  15. Ezekiel 42:17
    He measured the north side, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed round about.
  16. Ezekiel 42:18
    He measured the south side, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed.
  17. Ezekiel 42:19
    He turned about to the west side, and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed.
  18. Ezekiel 42:20
    He measured it by the four sides: it had a wall round about, five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad, to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place.
  19. Ezekiel 45:1
    Moreover, when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, ye shall offer an oblation unto the LORD, an holy portion of the land: the length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about.
  20. Ezekiel 48:8
    And by the border of Judah, from the east side unto the west side, shall be the offering which ye shall offer of five and twenty thousand reeds in breadth, and in length as one of the other parts, from the east side unto the west side: and the sanctuary shall be in the midst of it.
  21. Matthew 11:7
    And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
  22. Matthew 12:20
    A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.