Bamboos are by far the tallest grasses, with the species Dendrocalamus giganteus capable of growing up to 50 m tall. By comparison, the other grass subfamilies can only boast of species like Arundo donax, which tops out at around 6 m tall.
Researchers have found that the maximum height of tall plants is limited by the ability of the plant to pull water up from the ground to supply the highest leaves. The water column is drawn through xylem vessels, which are the specialized tubes that transport water in plants. When the cost of supplying water to the leaves is higher than the photosynthetic benefits given by those top leaves, then the plant ceases to grow taller.
|Arundo donax in New Mexico|
But that's not the entire story.