In North America, there are only three native species of bamboo. In total, there are 1400 listed species of bamboo. The native North American bamboo resides in the eastern and southeastern part of the Unites States such as New Jersey, Florida and west Texas. The bamboo prefers environments that are low-lying and high in moisture. Bamboo plants are useful to animals as they provide both shelter and food, while humans use them for fuel, medicines, food and building material.
Switch Cane (A. tecta) is bamboo that is native to the state of Florida. It also can be found in the eastern half of the United States in places such as Texas and New York. The bamboo lives in areas that are low lying, shady and moist. Caterpillars and the southern pearly eye butterfly often like to eat on its leaves. Its appearance is that of large grass with woody stems that grow 5 to 6 feet tall, but it has been known to reach as high as 25 feet. There are sheaths on the stem branches with loose, papery, leaf blades. Switch cane does not flower frequently.
Hill cane (A. appalachiana) lives in the area of the southern Appalachian Mountains. It is a species of bamboo discovered just recently by two Iowa State University botanists in 2007, according to the Iowa State University Extension website. The detail that makes this woody bamboo plant different amongst the others is that it looses its leaves during the autumn season. It grows along areas that have upland slopes, bluffs and oak and hickory forests.
River cane (Arundinaria gigantea), also known as canebreak bamboo, grows in the low woods areas, swamps and river banks. In earlier days, it once covered many grounds in the areas of Florida, Ohio and Maryland, but presently, most farmlands have now taken over their growing grounds. River cane has been known to grow as tall as 30 feet, but on average most bamboo plants only reach about 20 feet.