Maidencane is part of a family of perennial grasses that are common but somewhat hard to tell apart. Maidencane can grow up to 8 feet tall and often forms dense colonies. It has long, narrowly tapered leaves(up to 12 inches long and 1 inch wide) with rough upper surfaces and margins. Flowers are on a long narrow spike (up to 12 inches long). Maidencane forms extensive rhizomes by which it spreads rapidly.
Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Muskrat and nutria will consume the rhizomes of maidencane.