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Bamboo Death? Does Bamboo Really Die Once It Has Flowered?

Introduction: Bamboo Success

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Chapter One
Bamboo Success The Bamboo Plant Q. What are the Different Parts of the Bamboo Called? The Culm The Rhizome Bamboo Buds Nodes and Internodes Roots Branches Leaves Bamboo Seeds and Where Can I Find Them?

Chapter 2
How Do You Grow Bamboo? Bamboo Propagation with Seed Seed Quantities Q. How Are Seeds Collected? Seed Storage Dry Storage with Moisture Control Dry Storage with Moisture and Temperature Control Soaking Seeds Q. How Do I Germinate Bamboo Seed ? Q. How do I Grow bamboo? Continued

Culm Cuttings Branch Cuttings Layering Macroproliferation Advantages and Disadvantages of Propagation Methods. Q. Bamboo Death: What is meant by Flowering? Flowering Cycles of Bamboos

Chapter 3
Q. How do I Take Care of My Bamboo Plant? Q. How can I find out what kind of bamboo I have? Main Genera Characteristics A genus of clumping American bamboos with many branches Table of recently corrected names

Chapter 4
Q. What is Lucky Bamboo and how do I care for it ? Q. How Do I Know Which Bamboo is the Best for My Garden? Q. What is the Difference between a running and Clumping Bamboo? Q. How Fast and How Tall Does Bamboo Grow? Q. Will bamboo grow where we have cold winters?

Chapter 5
Q. Is Bamboo in Danger of Becoming Extinct Q.What can Bamboo be used for? Q. Can I eat the shoots?

Chapter 6
Glossary Further Questions?

Chapter 1

Bamboo Success

amboo lends itself to the creation of an ideal - maybe yours is one of lazy days relaxing with a cocktail whilst basking in the warmth of the sun? If you would like to be the envy of your friends and family with the most exotic, oriental garden this will be one of the most important e books that you will ever read.

Bamboo Success
Bamboo conjures up a vision of tropical islands, hot lazy days and warm nights within an equatorial jungle with the background sounds of tropical birds and wild animals. Whilst the plants from these hotter climates are more numerous than their temperate relatives, there are well over 200 species hardy on our UK islands and over 2000 types of bamboo worldwide.

You can achieve a lush green garden all year round with minimal upkeep.
These tropical bamboos are perennial and mostly evergreen and offer another dimension to any garden whatever the season, bamboo is one of the most versatile plants with its varied foliage and colourful culms and is ideal as a specimen plant, to use as ground cover or screening your garden giving it privacy combined with natural beauty. Bamboos will mix and match with any garden and different plants like grasses can be added to compliment the bamboo and create different garden themes.

The use of pots and containers can add another dimension creating a whole new look quickly and easily whilst Grasses compliment bamboos beautifully.
Bamboo habits vary from tight, compact clump forming to invasive, running bamboos which offer a little more of a challenge, however with the correct care and attention the running bamboo can be controlled without too much trouble. Heights can range from 10cm to 7m with culm colours from gold, blue, green, purple, red and black.

The Bamboo Plant

Bamboo can be defined as, Tall or Shrubby Grasses with Woody Stems (Culms)" and are some of the hardiest evergreen plants around, providing all year round interest for your garden. Bamboos are a subfamily of grasses and come from the GRAMINEAE / POACEAE Family, their subfamily being Bambusoideae. Bamboo comes in many different sizes, from the giants like Dendrocalamus Giganteus and Phyllostachys Edulis, (which can reach over 70ft (20m) even in climates like the Uk with its cold winters) to the Pleioblastus akebono, which grows no bigger than 12 inches (30cm) tall! These larger bamboos make ideal screens or hedges and other than the removal of dead canes needs little or no trimming. There are a wide variety of types, some having coloured canes whilst others have variegated foliage. For example, Phyllostachys aurea (Fishpole or Golden Bamboo) has Golden Canes and Yellow Green Foliage and is ideal for screens or hedges, whilst the compact Phyllostachys nigra has green canes which when mature turn to a shining black.

Q. What are the Different Parts of the Bamboo Called?

Bamboo is a complex specimen that is made up of many different parts each with its own name, the main structure of the Bamboo is made up of the culm, rhizome, nodes, branches, buds, roots and seeds. The bamboo plant unlike a tree which has one central trunk or axis consists of two sets of aces, one above the ground (the culm) which have secondary axes, in the form of branches which extend outward from the culms. The other main axes of the bamboo is below the ground known as the Rhizome, the Rhizome system has roots and buds.

The Culm
The bamboo culm is also known as the stem or stalk, which generally tends to be a tall woody shoot that emerges from the Rhizome bud, this young shoot quickly grows and reaches its full height with 100 days. The height that the Culm reaches in its first year will be its final height. However the Bamboo plant will continue to develop thicker and taller culms . The Culm (stem) tends to be cylindrical in shape, which tapers towards the top. The place on the stem where a leafy branch or bud arises, marked by a prominent line is known as the Node. As older leaves drop there is a constant regeneration and young leaves are produced, these branches and leaves continue to increase in number each year, generally the bamboo culm will continue to develop branches until the culm reaches about 7 years old. After this stage the culm should be thinned out of the grove.

The Rhizome
The rhizome is the underground stems of the bamboo plant, it is the Rhizomes which produce the culms. The rhizome is bulbous in its appearance with each individual segment of the rhizome tapering towards its end to form a neck which connects to its other segments. The rhizome has roots that emerge from its nodes, and it is these roots that forage for food and nutrients from the soil. These nutrients are stored by the rhizomes and used in the plants periods of dormancy for new growth. There are two types of Rhizome Systems, Pachymorph (sympodial or clump forming) and Leptomorph (monopodial or running type). However intermediate forms of Rhizomes can be formed, these are known as Amphipodial Rhizomes. The culms which form from the monopodial rhizome tend to be uniform and similar to the next whereas the culms of a sympodial or clump forming tend to have culms with successively increase in order.
Monopodial Bamboos tend to be from the following species:

Bashania, Ferrocalamus,

Indosasa, Pleioblastus, Phyllostachys, Sinobambusa Bambusa, Cephalostachyum, Chimonocalamus, Dendrocalamopsis, Dendrocalamus, Dinochloa, Fargesia Gaoligongshania, Gigantochloa, Melocalamus, Neosinocalamus, , Pseudostachyum Racemobambos, Schizostachyum, Teinostachyum, Thamnocalamus, Thyrsostachys Yushania
Amphipodial Bamboos tend to be from the following species: Chimonobambusa, Sympodial Bamboos tend to be from the following species: Ampelocalamus,

Indocalamus, Qiongzhuea

Bamboo Buds
Buds emerge on alternate sides of the culm and rhizomes of the bamboo (Like the Culm the rhizome also has nodes and internodes which are covered by sheaths).

Buds are key points from where new axes emerge and from where an entirely new plant can be formed.
Culm buds are located slightly above the nodes Nodes are where the rhizome, culm and branches of the bamboo plant are segmented by solid growth points. Rhizome buds are seen adjacent to the nodes in the portion between two successive nodes, known as the internode, it is the buds of the rhizome that are responsible for producing the culms (stems).

Nodes and Internodes

Nodes are growth points from where new branches develop, the rhizome, culm and branches of the bamboo plant are all segmented by its nodes.

The portion between two nodes is called an internode.

The length between two nodes varies from species to species and these internodes are usually hollow and are covered by sheaths in the early stages of growth, however as the plant grows these sheaths fall off and become a mulch that is ideal for providing vital nutrients for the growing plant. The internodes play an important part in transporting water and nutrients upwards, this is done by sophisticated vertically arranged cells located within the internodes. Distinctively then, the cells within the nodes are positioned horizontally thus enabling transverse movement of water and nutrients along its branches,

Roots play an important part in soil anchorage and are essential for the survival of the bamboo as the roots role is to transplant water and nutrients to other parts of the bamboo plant. Because the roots of the bamboo are shallow they grow best in moisture retentive soil and benefit from mulches of organic materials, however as long as the bamboos leaves and sheathes are not removed from the base of the bamboo once they fall to the ground, then these act as a natural fertilizer which should be more than adequate for continued fertilization of the bamboo.

Given the right conditions a bamboo will grow to its full height in just a few years.
The roots grow from the nodes of the rhizome and of the underground portions of the culms. The root system is a shallow but prolific lateral spreader. The roots are not segmented by nodes or protected by sheaths. However, in some species the roots can emerge at the nodes from where branches lead off and these are useful in propagating a new bamboo plant.

A bamboo culm only begins to develop branches when it has reached full or almost full height. Branches form from the buds on the culm and are arranged alternately along its length. The branchy system of the bamboo differs from type to type however the main structure of each is the same. The branch consists of : 1. one main branch (a little like that of a tree trunk but obviously smaller in size) and 2. a secondary branch that emerges from its basal portion. Both the main and secondary branches may in turn bear branchlets. The base of a branch may develop a rhizomatous swelling and root primordium, which are useful in vegetative propagation through branch cuttings, this can be induced by chopping the culm tops and removing the newly emerging culms from the clump.

Sound and movement provided by the leaves and culms of the bamboo offer sound and movement to the garden. Most bamboos produce many leaves, although there is some variety in the shapes between the different bamboo types. Some bamboos have variegated leaves whilst others have green leaves, some have very small leaves whilst others have large leaves, the variety is endless! Both the bamboos branches and leaves, given the correct conditions, continue to increase each year and there is a constant regeneration of young leaves from a healthy bamboo. As previously stated the fallen leaves and sheaths provide a good source of nutrition for the growing bamboo and should not be cleared away from the base of the plant.

The taller bamboos have a tree like appearance and are ideal for screening and hedges, the smaller ones are ideal as architectural plants, ground cover or for containers.
Some good screening bamboos are Phyllostachys Edulis or Phylllostachy bisetti, some other good hedging bamboos are Fargesia Nitida and Fargesia murielae. The leaves of the bamboo are important in the process of Photosynthesis and they also play an important role in protecting the bamboo against frost and rain.


Bamboo Seeds and Where Can I Find Them?

Bamboo flowers tend to be small and grass like with small scale like flaps at the base, and feathery stigmas, this shape facilitates wind pollination

Bamboos flower very rarely, some may flower every 5 years or so whilst other may only flower once every 100 years!
Therefore the availability of seeds is not that common. Please check the bookmarks within this e-book which will take you to our website where we specialize in the supply of bamboo seeds or see All our seeds are collected from the wild and germinate sporadically, meaning that each individual seed will germinate at a different rate just as they would do in their natural environment. Each seed has a natural germination characteristic essential for the survival of the species, therefore some will germinate sooner than others.


Chapter 2

Bamboo Success

How Do You Grow Bamboo?

With most plants the easiest and most common method of growing a new plant is through propagation with seeds, however, because bamboo seeds are not commonly available (some species do not set seed at all, others have extremely long flowering cycles), the other method is by division, these two methods are the most traditionally practiced and well known techniques. Tissue culture is a quick method of producing a large quantity of bamboo or any other plant for that matter. The tissue culture method of propagation involves placing a piece of the plant, for example a stem tip, nod, meristem or seed into a sterile nutrient medium under controlled conditions.

Methods of propagation



Tissue Culture



Macroproliferation Branch cutting


Culm Cutting

However, with some tropical species a new bamboo plant can be grown by bending the culm downwards and staking it into the ground. A good sized portion of the culm itself should be covered (approximately 3 nodes in length) as this is where the roots from the culm will develop.


Bamboo Propagation with Seed

Propagation from seed is a cost effective and efficient way of propagation. When bamboos flower and set seed, which can take place over a number of years or even decades , the natural regeneration and survival of the bamboo is ensured through the millions of seeds that the bamboo produces. In the year following the flowering of the bamboo (or years in the case of gregarious flowering), blooms tend to be concentrated in the months between November and April. Seeds tend to be generally available then from March to April onwards, however seeds in the period May to July tend to have better viability and reproductive ability.

Plants originating from seeds do take longer to develop into mature clumps than plant material derived through vegetative methods of propagation. However seed based propagation does ensure diversity of the bamboo.

Different bamboos have different sized bamboo seeds

The seeds of the Bambusa Tulda and Bambusa Nutans produce very small seeds, typically there could be 125,000 seeds per kilogram The seeds of the Dendroclamus Species tend to be larger than the bambusa species, however each individual type of Dendrocalamus seeds does in itself vary in size The seeds of Melaconna baccifera are very large and a kilogram of seed may only contain 65-70 seeds. These are around the size of a guava or small apple

Seed Quantities
The quantity of seeds produced by a clump or over a certain area (depending on the type of bamboo) also varies from species to species. Bambusa bambos produces seeds in large quantities, which can form dense carpets on the forest floor, Dendrocalamus strictus a clump of this bamboo can produce around 30-35 kilograms of seed

However, some bamboos species do not flower at all, or it may be that there are no recorded instances of flowering as there is much still to learn about the flowering of bamboos particularly in the extremely remote areas where access is limited . Some species of bamboo do flower but do not set seed, other bamboos do produce seed but only in very small quantities, therefore seeds from these species are very difficult to obtain particularly if the seed is scattered over a large area.

As previously discussed there are problems with relying on bamboo seeds as a means of propagation as it is only available on rare occasions


and its predictability cannot be guaranteed since the flowering cycle of many species is extremely long.

Two of the most common Bambusa are Bambusa Balcooa and Bambusa Vulgaris, these species flower but only very rarely. So when flowering does occur, it is extremely sporadic in nature and the seeds tend to be scattered and confined to just a few bamboo clumps at a time. Such flowering does not result in setting of seed, these species can therefore only be regularly multiplied vegatatively through traditional propagation methods. Although an alternative to this method is to propagate them from tissue cultured plants, which is not covered in this ebook.

Q. How Are Seeds Collected?

After flowering the bamboo seed falls to the ground, although the bamboo culm can be shaken to dislodge any ripe seeds, this latter method of collection from the culm does result in a cleaner collection of seeds than if they were picked from the ground. Seeds that does fall to the ground is at risk from insects, birds, rats and other animals. It is also often difficult to collect seed from the wild as concentrations of growing stock tend to be in dense forests, and the fallen seeds of common clumping species tend to germinate in just a few weeks therefore the seed must be collected as soon as possible to ensure the quality and viability of the seeds is at its maximum. Therefore seed collection is easier if it is controlled, this can be done by clearing the bamboo clumps of other vegetation and placing a large clean cloth or tarpaulin onto the ground where the seeds may fall, the fallen seeds will stand a better chance of survival from the elements and will be cleaner than if left to fall on the ground. Any seeds that do fall to the ground should be cleaned by shaking free any dirt and removing any insects so that the rest of the seeds during storage do not become contaminated or eaten!

Seed Storage
It is essential that seeds are stored immediately and in controlled conditions as soon as they are collected as fresh bamboo seeds germinate better than those that are stored but provided that the correct storage conditions are maintained the viability of the seed can be maintained. Seeds need to be stored in low moisture and in cool dry conditions. The seed must not be stored in humid conditions where it is warm and damp i.e. like that of a greenhouse. It is important to process and transfer seeds to the ideal storage conditions as quickly as possible to avoid any loss in viability. Only those seeds of a high quality with high viability rates should be chosen for storage. Care should be taken to ensure that the seeds are clean from insects, dirt and any fungal debris so as not to infect or damage other seeds which may be in storage.


There are two main ways to store seeds 1. Dry storage where the moisture content is controlled 2. Dry storage where both the moisture and temperature are controlled. The first way is obviously the most simple method of storage however the second method is more effective and the viability of the seed will be greater using the second method rather than the first.

Dry Storage with Moisture Control

Keeping seeds in low humidity and dry conditions helps to slow down the respiration and prolongs the ageing process of the seed. In this method, the seeds are first dried and cleaned of any debris so that they retain their 8-10 percent moisture content. They the seeds are placed in a plastic airtight container which will have calcium chloride spread at the bottom (up to one tenth of the weight of the seeds). This acts as a desiccant, however care should be taken not to use too much of the desiccant as it will carry the risk of over drying the seeds. A wire gauge should then be placed over the desiccant before the seeds are placed in the container. Sometimes the airtight containers are placed over the desiccator or the storage room can be fitted with a dehumidifier to limit the moisture content.

Dry Storage with Moisture and Temperature Control

Temperature plays an important role and can quickly affect the viability of the seeds. It is best to keep seeds in low temperatures so that there is a lower rate of respiration and the result will be an increase in the life span of the seeds. Therefore if possible, it is better to store seeds in a moisture and temperature controlled place. A deepfreeze cooled to room temperature could be used for storage. Seeds are given the best possible chance if brought down to 8-10 percent moisture and stored in the deepfreeze at -10 degrees to 14 degrees C. It is important that power supplies remain uninterrupted and temperature fluctuations should be kept to a minimum. Low temperature could result in freezing, thus the freezing and then thawing of the seeds could have an adverse effect on the viability of the seed.


Soaking Seeds
Seeds from bamboo should be sown as soon as they are collected, if they are not to be sown straight away then they should be stored as detailed using one of the two methods described. Soaking in warm water for 24 hours prior to germination improves germination rates.

Q. How Do I Germinate Bamboo Seed ?

Seeds may be sown in trays, germination beds, small pots or polythene bags. A germination bed is a small raised and prepared patch of land, this parcel of land should be positioned where there is overhead shade and good irrigation. Bamboos are adaptable to most soils, however they do not tolerate boggy soils there is however the Phyllostacys Heteroclada (also known as water bamboo) which particularly enjoys these conditions because of its unique rhizome and root structure, which have air canals which allow it to grow in wet soils. A germination bed is useful for providing uniform care, moisture and fertilization for a large number of seeds, however if only a few seeds are being germinated at any given time is better to use pots and polythene bags. The recommended size for a germination bed is 5 metres by 1 meters, and should be a depth of around 15 centimeters. As previously suggested soak the seed for 24 hours before sowing. It is advisable to try different methods for seed to see which works best as different people have different ideas regarding germination, we have had bamboo germinate with normal sowing techniques, others have kept the seed in cold storage at 3-4 deg C for a week then soaked the seed for 48 hours at 15 Deg c with a little copper sulphate, then left them for 3 days on a watered cotton bed (but not water logged) in a closed glass box exposed to indirect sunlight before sowing. To sow: Take a mixture of compost and sand, pass through a 2mm sieve. Sow seeds in a continuous line. Cover seeds with a fine layer of compost as deep as the seed itself. Seeds should start to germinate in 3-4 weeks, but could take several weeks to germinate. Once seed has reached a height of 8-10 cm or produced 4-6 leaves they should be pricked out and transferred to either polythene bags or germination beds. In the polythene bags the seedlings should be watered regularly and partial overhead shade should be provided. Once 2-3 feet in height the seedlings can be transferred to the garden. Temperature: The seeds should be germinated at around 15-18 deg C (60-65 deg F). Ensure that seeds are kept out of direct sunlight. Potting On: Once the seedlings are large enough to handle the plants will require pricking out and potting on (if not being placed out in the garden). Once first transported water sparingly until the plant has recovered from the shock.


Q. How do I Grow bamboo? Continued

Spring (around February to April) is a good time of year to transplant bamboo before it actually starts to generate new growth, this is when the food reserves within the rhizome system is at its greatest. If division cannot take place in spring, late autumn is generally when shoot growth stops, so this time of year is also a good time to transport any clumps. Tools that you will need: Sharp Shovel Axe or Saw Sheet Plastic

A clump of approximately two feet in diameter which has three or four healthy young culms is best for division as the bamboo will be young strong and healthy. In order to separate the rhizome and its roots a shovel, axe or saw may be required. Care should be taken to ensure that the rhizome system which is essential for the growth and regeneration of the bamboo is not damaged. Steps for Division: 1. Clear any soil from the ground surrounding the clump until enough of the rhizome can be seen.

A healthy Rhizome is straw/yellow coloured.

2. The roots should be wrapped in plastic and kept well watered to prevent drying out of the roots, replanting should take place as quickly as possible. The top of the culm should also be covered with plastic to prevent desiccation. 3. Before replanting give the soil a good helping of fertiliser and a good watering, the new clump should then be placed in the ground and covered with soil. It will take the transported clump a good 3-4 years to become established in its new location so patience is required at this stage.


Propagation through Cuttings

The best time to take cuttings from bamboo is from March to May, a clump cutting is where a segment of the culm, usually around 2-3 nodes in length is cut away from the bamboo and potted on. The culm should be around 2 years old and be in a healthy condition.

1. Identify the culm which is going to be used as a cutting and cut the desired section as detailed above, discard the top tapering part of the culm. 2. The branches on the culm should then be pruned to a length of 5-10 cm. 3. The culm should then be divided into smaller portions approx 2-3 nodes in length, by cutting diagonally with a sharp saw between 5-10 cm to either side of the node.

Where there is a long internodal length just one single node can be retained, for shorter internodal lengths 2-3 nodes are best.
4. Where 2-3 culmed cuttings are taken, a small hole should be drilled in the middle of the culms (in the internode) so that a small amount of hormone compound can be poured into it. Once this has been done the hold should be covered with plastic to prevent loss of moisture. 5. Where single culms cuttings have been used these can just be dipped in hormone compound or solution. 6. Dip the cut ends of the culm segments into a fungicidal solution to prevent diseases developing. 7. Place the cuttings in prepared beds spacing them approx 20 cm apart.

Planting Bed: A sandy loamy soil is ideal for planting the cuttings, it is important to ensure that the soil is well drained and not in direct sunlight.
8. The cuttings should be watered regularly however care should be taken not to overwater.

Sprouting will generally occur within 10-15 days. Roots develop within 4-6 weeks.


Rhizome development and new shoots develop within 4-6 months. Once shoots have formed the cuttings are ready to be potted on or transferred to the ground.
Culm Cuttings

Identify Healthy Culm

Cut the Culm at the Base

Remove Top of Culm

Prune Branches

Prepare Cuttings

Treat with Hormonal Compound and Fungicidal Solution

Plant Cuttings


Branch Cuttings
Culms should be selected which are healthy and disease free, a good age being between 18 months to two years old. Using a hacksaw the branches should be cut by the base where the rhizome swelling and aerial roots are present. A good clean cut all the way through the branch is required so the saw should be sharp enough to be able to do this. Once the selected branch has been removed from the culm, the leaves should be trimmed along with small branches and the branch tips. Each branch cutting should be approx 60-80 cm in length and have between 2 and 6 healthy nodes on each branch. Dip the branch cuttings in hormonal compound and seal ends with wax. Treat with fungicidal solution and then plant the cuttings in sandy, loamy soil as detailed in Culm cuttings, ensuring that the cuttings again are not placed in direct sunlight and have adequate drainage.

Sprouting takes 7-10 days Root Development takes 30-70 days After rooting transfer each cutting to a pot and once shoots begin to develop (6-8 months approximately), the plants can be potted on or planted in the ground.


Branch Cuttings

Identify Healthy Branches with Rhizomatous Swelling Sever Branch at Base with Hacksaw

Trim Leaves and Branch

Treat with Hormonal Compound and Seal with Wax Treat with Fungicidal Solution

Plant Cuttings


Ground Layering
This method of propagating bamboo is where rooting takes place without separating any part of the plant from the main plant. Here part of the culm or branch of the main plant are buried in the ground to establish a new plant. Again a healthy young culm (up to two years old) should be selected for the layering process. Dig a small trench to a depth of 10-15 cm, which is long enough to bed a culm with around 5 or so nodes. Identify which culm is to be used for ground layering and cut off its top and tapering portion, this will stimulate the growth of buds at the nodes. The branches and leaves should be kept at top 5-6 nodes and the lowest 4-5 nodes , however the leaves and branches in-between these two sections should be removed. Carefully bend the culm down to the prepared piece of ground, then peg it down securely. If the bamboo culm does not bend easily then make a small cut at the base of the culm and carefully bend over. Once the culm has been securely pegged down, cover the portion of the culm in the trench with hormone compound, as this will help stimulate growth. Cover with soil, ensure that regular watering takes place but do not overwater. Roots will develop at the nodes, once the roots are established the culm can be cut into 10 cm lengths or thereabouts and the culm with its established roots can then be potted on.

This is a method of propagation whereby the bamboos rhizome system is divided into segments, with each segment having its own roots and shoots. This is a efficient way of growing a large number of new plants, but in general is only suitable for those bamboos that produce viable seeds. Sow the seeds (see seed section of this ebook) Once the seedlings have 2-3 leaves and are approximately 8-10 cm in height, the seedlings should be planted into individual pots or polybags. When the bamboo seedling has established 3 or 4 roots (approx 4 months) remove the soil and expose the rhizome system The individual shoots should then be separated at the rhizome neck ensuring that each shoot has a rhizome system and roots. The upper portion of the shoots should then be trimmed, However 2 nodes should be left at this upper portion to enable the production of more shoots. The cuttings should then be dipped in hormone compound and repotted.


Advantages and Disadvantages of The Different Propagation Methods. Method


Cost effective and good for large scale production

Seed availability is limited. Flowering can be ad hoc. Seeds need to be collected and stored correctly to maintain viability. Not suitable for bamboos with long internodes and thin culm walls Not effective for thin walled species

Culm Cuttings

Simple and cost effective. Survival rate of cuttings is good Cost Effective, Good for thick walled bamboo

Branch Cuttings

Ground Layering

Effective method, no great risk Labour intensive of damaging parent plant Good for large scale production Need to ensure continual new plant stock used for propagation



Q. BAMBOO DEATH! What is meant by Flowering?

There are two types of flowering - Gregarious and Sporadic Bamboo Flowering.. Sporadic Flowering In sporadic flowering not all the clumps flower, flowering occurs in scattered subsets. In sporadic flowering of some bamboo, the affected culms will die but the clump itself may not necessarily die, the clump may in actual fact regenerate and continue to grow new culms. When bamboo flowers it dies! Not Necessarily, it sometimes happens but not always! In the sporadic flowering of an entire clump, the entire clump may die, there are however species in which the clump will not die but continue to produce healthy new culms. Gregarious Flowering In gregarious flowering entire populations in a certain area bloom and flower over a period of time that may last from just a few months to a few years. The affected clumps usually die after flowering and do not regenerate with gregarious flowering bamboos. Some bamboo species may flower either gregariously and others sporadically however, there are some species of bamboo that flower both gregariously and sporadically. The flowering period of species varies as previously mentioned, some species may flower annually or at short intervals Other species that flower gregariously do so at long often regular intervals, however some species that flower sporadically do so at irregular intervals! When a bamboo flowers it does not always result in fruit bearing or seed setting. The impact of flowering in bamboo species also varies Some species die after the first and only fruiting Some species die in part after fruiting and regenerate the dead parts Some species do not die but flower and bear fruit at regular or irregular intervals


Flowering Cycles of Bamboos

Below is a list of some bamboos and their flowering cycle

Bambusa Balcooa Bambusa Bambos Bambusa Nutans Bambusa Pallida Bambusa polymorpha Bambusa Vulgaris Bambusa Tulda Dendrocalamus brandisii Dendrocalamus giganteus Dendrocalmus hamiltonii Dendrocalamus strictus Melocanna baccifera Ochlandra travancorica Oxytenanthera stocksii Schizostachyum dullooa Thyrsostachys oliveri

Flowering Behavior

Flowering Cycle

Gregarious, isolated and 35-45 years rare Gregarious sporadic Sporadic, gregarious Sporadic Gregarious/sporadic Sporadic and rare Gregarious sporadic occasionally 40-60 years occasionally 35 years 40 years 55-60 years 80 +years

occasionally 30-60 years 30-60 years 40-80 years 30-40 years 25-45 years 30 plus years 7-15 years

Gregarious/sporadic Sporadic Gregarious/sporadic Gregarious/sporadic Gregarious Gregarious

Sporadic does not set seed 40-45 years Sporadic/gregarious Gregarious 30-45 years 48-50 years


Chapter 3

Bamboo Success

Q. How do I Take Care of My Bamboo Plant?

Bamboo needs little or no maintenance, the fallen leaves and sheaths provide a good source of nutrition for the growing bamboo and should not be cleared away from the base of the plant and serves as a good mulch. The leaves themselves contain silica that the plant will need for new growth. A fertilizer can be used whether horse manure, fish fertilser or weed and feed they all work just as well, however there should be no real need to do this as bamboo does not receive added fertilizer in the wild and survives well! Bamboos should have a regular watering although they do not enjoy over watering, however if you have a boggy area Phyllostachys Heteroclada (also known as water bamboo) thrives in wet soils because of its unique rhizome structure. Depending upon the variety of bamboo that you have will govern where you plant it, some bamboos like full sun, others like partial sun, whilst others prefer full shade. Look at the source list for an idea of the conditions that your bamboo enjoys best. Recommendations 1. The addition of humus when planting as a heavy mulch 2. The continuation of mulching and occasionally some fertilizer. The best fool and mulch that a bamboo can have is its own leaves and sheaths which are shed regularly, it is important not to clear these away from the base of the plant as they are an important form of nutrition for the bamboo. 3. Regular watering during the first couple of years, however care should be taken not to over water the bamboo, and correct irrigation should be in place 4. Thinning of old and weak culms as the bamboo matures. Whilst not necessary some pruning of the lower branches will enhance the bamboos appearance


Q. How can I find out what kind of bamboo I have?

Bamboo comes in many different sizes, and there are as many as 2000 different kinds, what we know of. Some Bamboos are clumping bamboos and are ideal for container growing, whilst others are running bamboos and are ideal for screening.

Identification is further complicated as some has coloured canes with variegated foliage and others are entirely green. The task of identification is made even more difficult as the common names of bamboos vary from place to place and from country to country! See the table of Characteristics of the Main Genera to get an idea of the main difference between the species.

Bamboo is defined as "Tall or Shrubby Grasses with Woody Stems (Culms)".

The botanical classification is as follows KINGDOM: Plantae - PHYLUM (DIVISION): Magnoliophyta (Angiospermae, the flowering plants) - CLASS: Liliopsida (the monocots) - SUBCLASS: Commelinidae (the non-petaloid monocots) - ORDER: Poales (grasses & friends)

- FAMILY: Poaceae (grasses) - SUBFAMILY: Bambusoideae

Some questions which you need to ask before identification can take place are :
1. What colour/s are the culms. Do the new culms have a certain colour? 2. Are the leaves large or small, are they variegated? 3. How do the branches emerge from the culm? 4. How tall is the bamboo? 5. How thick are the culms, are they upright or bent? 6. Does the bamboo grow in clumps and do they spread over a large area.


To help in the identification process here are some characteristics of the main genera Main Genera Acidosasa Characteristics This species originates from Southern Chilna and its name is formed from Latin acidum ("sour") and Sasa (another bamboo genus), because of its edible shoots. Generally small, tender clumping bamboos of pendulous or scrambling habit, with ribbed culms and large culm sheath blades A genus of clumping American bamboos with many branches This is a genus of small to medium sized bamboos, this genus is a running bamboo. The Arundinaria has numerous branches at each node and has very pale persistent, culm sheaths on green upright culms. The young shoots tend to form in spring, and has branches hosting medium to large leaves.


Arthostylidium Arundinaria


Genus of Giant tropical and subtropical clumping bamboos. These bamboos have numerous branches at each node, one or three much larger than the rest. New shoots appear in late summer or autumn. This deep rooted bamboo is ideal for screening and hedges. Its culms are


upright with pale grey silvery upright leaves. E.g. Bashania quingchengshanensis This bamboo has solid culms and has dark green leaves and hairy sheaths. Borinda This bamboo has similar characteristics to Thamnocalamus the main difference being its hairy sheaths. Genus similar to Semiarundinaria having one species, one variety Tall, shrubby or climbing bamboos with generally slender, stiff and thin-walled culms. From India, China, Madagascar, Malaysia, Indonesia This bamboo provides year round interest and are good for ground cover or containers. It tends to shoot in early winter through to spring. The culms are particularly attractive when new as they are often marbled in effect.. The culms tend to be delicate with short to medium leaves. E.g. Chimonobambusa (marbled bamboo). marmoreal

Brachystachyu Cephalostachyum



This bamboo has solid culms with clusters of branches forming in rings around the nodes. The culm is almost leafless in the first year with pale sheaths which last well into the second year. E.g. Chusquea couleou Tall, arching bamboo


Clavinodum Dendrocalamus Dinochlo

This bamboo has dark coloured thin culms which have an arching effect. The leaves on this bamboo are larger than most. This is a very rare bamboo. Giant tropical clumping bamboos similar to Bambusa This genus originates from Burma and the Philippines. It is a climbing clumping bamboo. , it finds supports by wrapping itself around trees and other vegetation. This is a medium sized clumping bamboo This genus is a genus of herbaceous bamboos originating from Brazil. The leaves of this elegant Bamboo tend to be fine and the culms are thin, colourful and flexible. This bamboo is a clump forming bamboo again the culm tends to be leafless in the first year however it is covered with sheaths in its first year of growth. E.g. Fargesia murielae (Muriels bamboo), this forms clumps of tall arching canes ideal as a hedge or screen.

Drepanostachyum Eremitis Fargesia

Galigonshania Gelidocalamus

A genus with one species. From Yunnan, China This genus are small to medium sized bamboo originating from China. This bamboo forms many branches with singular leaves.



This is a tropical bamboo, which grows very tall.

Guadua Hibanobambusa

This is a giant tropical bamboo with open clumps, thorny. Japanese sheaths. bamboo with hairy leaf

This is a bamboo with striking variegated leaves that are striped with white and tinted purple/pink in sunlight. Himalayacalamus A newly erected genus of clumpforming bamboos of the lower altitudes of the Himalayan mountains. These bamboos have thin culms with large dense foliage usually quite short in height. E.g. Indocalamus latifolius This bamboo has red shoots when young with broad, deep leaves extending horizontally from the culms


Indosasa Lithachne Melocalamus

This medium sized bamboo originates from Southern China and Vietnam. This tropical genus forms herbaceous clumps. A small group of scrambling bamboos with persistent culm sheaths and large leaves.

Melocanna Menstruocalamus Neohouzeaua Neololeba Neomicrocalamus

This genus originates from India and Burma they form open clumps. Very similar to Chimonobambusa and originates from China This is a medium-sized clumping bamboos from South East Asia. This is a tropical clumping bamboo from Indonesia, and Northern Australia This genus originates from the Himalayas, its culms are shiny and flexible and its sheathes are needlelike in appearance.

Ochlandra Oligostachyum Olmeca

This reed like bamboo originates from India and Sri Lanka A group These running bamboos from China are small to medium in size. This Mexican Bamboo forms open clumps and has large fleshy fruits.

Otatea Oxytenanthera Phyllostachys

Genus of American clumping bamboos This is a genus of clumping bamboos from Africa. These have rainbow coloured culms which tend to be very strong, tall and thick. Each culm has a sulcus (groove) on one side between nodes, alternating on opposite sides of the culm..


Phyllostaschys bambousoides Castillonis- Bamboo with colourful canes Phyllostachys nigra Bamboo with black caned Pleioblastus This bamboo is ideal for screening and ground cover. The culms are leathery and tend to be rounded. There is a great variation between bamboos within this genus. E.g. Pleioblastus auricomus


This architectural bamboo has tall bare culms and the top branches tend to have medium to large leathery foliage. A very attractive bamboo.


This Chinese bamboo is small to medium in size and is similar to the genus Chimonobambusa. It has thick culm walls with swollen nodes. This is a small clumping bamboo which has a unique leave movement. They fold upwards at night time or when the moisture or temperature is not ideal for this genus This genus is a clumping bamboo





This genus originates from the Himalayan mountains and tends to be a small to medium sized running bamboo. This bamboo has dry, papery culm sheaths. There is a single branch per node. Leaf margins often attractively bleached in Winter.



This bamboo is very much like the Sasa Genus except there tends to be more than one branch per node.


These are running bamboos similar to the genus Sasa. The leaves of this bamboo are large. This genus is a clumping bamboo which has clumping notes. This is a shrub like tropical bamboo Usually short and broad leaves, often with unique tip bleaching in Winter. Short, thin, zig-zag culms




The Sinobambusa is a running bamboo similar the bamboo species Semiarundinaria



Small, thin, leaves, often glaucous, on relatively thick culms. Faint swellings on internodes, (not visible but can be felt ~ preferably not in front of the neighbours). Clump forming. Usually deep rooted. Very airy and graceful. E.g. Thamnocalamus spathiflorus aristatus. This clump forming bamboo has yellow canes with green leaves.


This is a moderately sized tropical bamboo, this is a clumping bamboo which has small leaves and persistent culm sheaths.. Long, thin green leaves on tall, flexible culms. Evenly spreading habit. Culms bloomy when young with persistent sheaths. Most are fountain Yushania Maculata This bamboo has dark purple canes and willow like leaves. This bamboo is wind tolerant.



Table of recently corrected names

Old Name (in US) ACIDOSASA gigantea ARTHROSTYLIDIUM sp. (hort.) ARUNDINARIA alpina ARUNDINARIA amabilis ARUNDINARIA anceps ARUNDINARIA auricoma ARUNDINARIA falconeri (hort.) ARUNDINARIA fangiana ARUNDINARIA hookerianus ARUNDINARIA macrosperma ARUNDINARIA maling ARUNDINARIA tessellata ARUNDINARIA vagans BAMBUSA arundinacea New Name INDOSASA gigantea CHUSQUEA circinata YUSHANIA alpina PSEUDOSASA amabilis YUSHANIA anceps PLEIOBLASTUS viridistriatus DREPANOSTACHYUM sengteeanum SAROCALAMUS fangianus HIMALAYACALAMUS hookerianus ARUNDINARIA gigantea ssp. gigantea YUSHANIA maling THAMNOCALAMUS tessellatus SASAELLA ramosa BAMBUSA bambos


NEOLOLEBA atra BAMBUSA multiplex BAMBUSA oldhamii BAMBUSA multiplex 'Midori Green' BAMBUSA odashimae BAMBUSA edulis BAMBUSA variegata (hort.) BAMBUSA glaucophylla BAMBUSA tuldoides 'Ventricosa' BAMBUSA ventricosa BAMBUSA vulgaris 'Vittata' BAMBUSA vulgaris 'Striata' BASHANIA faberi SAROCALAMUS faberi CHIMONOBAMBUSA tumidissinoda QIONGZHUEA tumidissinoda CHUSQUEA breviglumis (hort.) CHUSQUEA gigantea CHUSQUEA nigricans (hort.) CHUSQUEA culeou 'Caa Prieta' CHUSQUEA quila (hort.) CHUSQUEA valdiviensis DENDROCALAMUS affinis BAMBUSA emeiensis DENDROCALAMUS membranaceus BAMBUSA membranacea DREPANOSTACHYUM falcatum HIMALAYACALAMUS hookerianus DREPANOSTACHYUM falconeri DREPANOSTACHYUM (hort.) sengteeanum DREPANOSTACHYUM hookerianum HIMALAYACALAMUS falconeri (hort.) 'Damarapa' BORINDA angustissima THAMNOCALAMUS crassinodus BORINDA fungosa SAROCALAMUS fangianus BAMBUSA luteostriata GIGANTOCHLOA pseudoarundinacea HIMALAYACALAMUS intermedius BORINDA boliana NEOMICROCALAMUS microphyllus HIMALAYACALAMUS asper (hort.) NEOSINOCALAMUS affinis BAMBUSA emeiensis 'Chrysotrichus' OTATEA acuminata 'Mayan Silver' OTATEA glauca OTATEA acuminata ssp. OTATEA aztecorum aztecorum PHYLLOSTACHYS cerata PHYLLOSTACHYS heteroclada FARGESIA angustissima FARGESIA crassinodus FARGESIA fungosa GELIDOCALAMUS fangianus GIGANTOCHLOA luteostriata GIGANTOCHLOA verticillata

BAMBUSA forbesii BAMBUSA glaucescens BAMBUSA hirose BAMBUSA multiplex 'Green Alphonse'


PHYLLOSTACHYS congesta PHYLLOSTACHYS decora PHYLLOSTACHYS heterocycla PHYLLOSTACHYS heterocycla pubescens PHYLLOSTACHYS heterocycla pubescens 'Anderson' PHYLLOSTACHYS purpurata PHYLLOSTACHYS purpurata 'Solidstem' PHYLLOSTACHYS purpurata 'Straightstem' PLEIOBLASTUS akibensis

PHYLLOSTACHYS atrovaginata PHYLLOSTACHYS mannii 'Decora' PHYLLOSTACHYS edulis 'Heterocycla' PHYLLOSTACHYS edulis PHYLLOSTACHYS edulis 'Anderson' PHYLLOSTACHYS heteroclada 'Purpurata' PHYLLOSTACHYS heteroclada 'Solidstem' PHYLLOSTACHYS heteroclada

PLEIOBLASTUS kongosanensis 'Akibensis' PLEIOBLASTUS gramineus 'Raseetsu- PLEIOBLASTUS gramineus 'Monstrispiralis' chiku' PLEIOBLASTUS variegatus PLEIOBLASTUS fortunei SASA asahinae SASA shimidzuana SASA humilis PLEIOBLASTUS humilis SASA pygmaea PLEIOBLASTUS pygmaeus SASA tessellata INDOCALAMUS tessellatus SASA variegata PLEIOBLASTUS fortunei SASAELLA glabra 'Albostriata' SASAELLA masamuneana 'Albostriata' SASAELLA masamuneana rhyncantha SASAELLA masamuneana SASAELLA rhyncantha SASAELLA masamuneana SEMIARUNDINARIA villosa SEMIARUNDINARIA okuboi SINARUNDINARIA FARGESIA TETRAGONOCALAMUS angulatus CHIMONOBAMBUSA quadrangularis THAMNOCALAMUS spathaceus FARGESIA murieliae (hort.) YUSHANIA aztecorum OTATEA acuminata ssp. aztecorum .


Japanese names Hachiku Hoteichiku Kikkochiku Kumazasa Kurochiku Madake Medake Moso Narihira Okame-zasa Yadake Chinese names Cha Gang zhu Che Tong zhu Fang zhu Fo du zhu Gui zhu Han zhu Hong Bian zhu Hou zhu Hui Xiang zhu Jin zhu Ma zhu Mao zhu Qiong zhu Ren Mian zhu Shui zhu Wu Ya zhu Xiang Nuo zhu Zi zhu Botanical name Pseudosasa amabilis Bambusa sinospinosa Chimonobambusa quadrangularis Bambusa tuldoides 'Ventricosa' Phyllostachys bambusoides Chimonobambusa marmorea Phyllostachys rubromarginata Phyllostachys nidularia Chimonocalamus pallens Phyllostachys sulphurea Dendrocalamus latiflorus Phyllostachys edulis Chimonobambusa tumidissinoda Phyllostachys aurea Phyllostachys heteroclada Phyllostachys atrovaginata Cephalostachyum pergracile Phyllostachys nigra Botanical name Phyllostachys nigra Henonis Phyllostachys aurea Phyllostachys edulis 'Heterocycla' Sasa veitchii (not Shibataea kumasaca) Phyllostachys nigra Phyllostachys bambusoides Pleioblastus simonii Phyllostachys edulis Semiarundinaria fastuosa Shibataea kumasaca Pseudosasa japonica


English names Arrow Beechey Blue Black Buddha's Belly Candy Stripe or Candy cane Canebrake Chinese Goddess Chinese Thorny Common Dwarf Fern Leaf Dwarf Whitestripe Fernleaf Fountain Giant Thorny Giant Timber Green Mountain Golden Golden "Heavenly Bamboo" Hedge Himalayan Blue Horsehoof Iron Range Japanese Timber "Lucky Bamboo" Male Marbled Mexican Weeping Botanical name Pseudosasa japonica Bambusa beecheyana Himalayacalamus hookerianus Phyllostachys nigra Bambusa tuldoides 'Ventricosa' Himalayacalamus falconeri Damarapa Arundinaria gigantea Bambusa multiplex Riviereorum Bambusa sinospinosa Bambusa vulgaris Pleioblastus distichus Pleioblastus fortunei Bambusa multiplex Fernleaf Fargesia nitida Bambusa bambos Bambusa oldhamii Yushania alpina Phyllostachys aurea Phyllostachys aurea Holochrysa not a bamboo (Nandina domestica) Bambusa multiplex Himalayacalamus hookerianus Bambusa lapidea Bambusa forbesii Phyllostachys bambusoides not a bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) Dendrocalamus strictus Chimonobambusa marmorea Otatea acuminata subsp. aztecorum


Monastery Oldham's Painted Punting Pole River Cane Square Stone Sweetshoot Switch Cane Tea Stick Temple Timor Black Tonkin Cane Tortoise Shell Tropical Black Umbrella Water Weaver's Wine Yellow Groove

Thyrsostachys siamensis Bambusa oldhamii Bambusa vulgaris Vittata Bambusa tuldoides Arundinaria gigantea Chimonobambusa quadrangularis Phyllostachys angusta & P. nuda Phyllostachys dulcis Arundinaria gigantea subsp. tecta Pseudosasa amabilis Semiarundinaria fastuosa Bambusa lako Pseudosasa amabilis Phyllostachys edulis Heterocycla Gigantochloa atroviolacea Fargesia murieliae Phyllostachys heteroclada Bambusa textilis Oxytenanthera braunii Phyllostachys aureosulcata


Chapter 4

Bamboo Success

Q. What is Lucky Bamboo and how do I care for it ?

Lucky bamboo is not actually a bamboo at all ! It is a member of the Dracaena family, usually D. sanderana, and is a common house plant that has increased in popularity over the last few years, the Lucky Bamboo is not even a grass so when learning how to care for this plant you need to find information about the Dracaena family.

Q. How Do I Know Which Bamboo is the Best for My Garden?

When choosing which bamboo would suit your garden best it is important to ask yourself a few questions like: 1. What is the climate like in my state/region/country? Different bamboos tolerate high and low temperatures better than others.Some bamboo likes to be placed in a protected, shady area whilst others can tolerate the full sun. 2. What kind of soil is in my garden? 3. What is the reason for the bamboo? Do I require it for screening, fencing, soil erosion or for architectural design and flair? 4. What height do you require. 5. Do I want a Running or Clumping Bamboo?


Q. What is the Difference between a running and Clumping Bamboo?

Clumping bamboos are bamboos which grow in small clumps and are easier to control than the running bamboo, most clumping bamboo tends to be tropical or sub tropical species. Running bamboos are good for screening and fencing, however they can become very invasive. Running bamboos tend to be the cold hardy species that thrive in northern climates.

Running bamboos can be controlled by :

1. planting a root barrier. 2. If the plant is planted without a root barrier then you can dig a trench approximately three feet in depth around the area which will contain the bamboo in the area that you would like to grow it. A root barrier can then be put in the trench and then the trench can be filled with a. Loose gravel. Then each season a sharp spade should be used to cut down into the trench to prevent any roots that have extended to the end of the root barrier from crossing the trench. b. Concrete, the trench should be filled with concrete it is useful to leave this a couple of inches above ground level so that any roots that grow over the top of the barrier can be seen and chopped off using a sharp spade.

Clumping Bamboos can be Transplanted:

Spring is a good time of year to transplant bamboo before it actually starts to generate new growth, alternatively late autumn is generally when shoot growth stops, so this time of year is also a good time to transport any clumps. Tools that you will need: Sharp Shovel Axe or Saw Sheet Plastic

A clump of approximately two feet in diameter which has three or four healthy young culms is best for division as the bamboo will be young strong and healthy. In order to separate the roots a shovel, axe or saw may be required. The roots should be wrapped in plastic and kept well watered to prevent drying out of the roots, replanting should take place as quickly as possible. See Division for further information.


Q. How Fast and How Tall Does Bamboo Grow?

Bamboo is quite an easy plant to grow and given the correct conditions a bamboo will grow to its full height in just a few years. Correct conditions being the ideal conditions of heat, humidity ,fertile soil and correct management of the bamboo. Some bamboos have been known to grow more that 40 feet in a 24 hour period!

Q. Will bamboo grow where we have cold winters?

Different bamboos tolerate different temperatures, clumping bamboos tend to enjoy sub tropical or tropical conditions whereas running bamboos like the species of

Phyllostachys , Indocalamus, Sasa, Semiarundianaria etc.

tend to be more hardy and can tolerate lower temperatures. Below is a list of bamboos detailing the temperatures that they can tolerate..

Species tolerant of -5F (-20C)

Indocalamus sp. solidus Indocalamus tessellatus Phyllostachys mannii Phyllostachys nigra Hale Phyllostachys heteroclada Phyllostachys rubromarginata Phyllostachys viridis Phyllostachys vivax Sasa palmata Sasa senanensis Semiarundinaria fastuosa


Semiarundinaria fastuosa viridis Shibataea kumasaca albostriata Shibataea lancifolia

Species tolerant of -10F (-23C)

Arundinaria gigantea Arundinaria gigantea subsp. tecta Fargesia dracocephala Phyllostachys atrovaginata Phyllostachys aureosulcata Phyllostachys aureosulcata alata Phyllostachys aureosulcata aureocaulis Phyllostachys aureosulcata Harbin Phyllostachys aureosulcata spectabilis Phyllostachys bissetii Phyllostachys propinqua Phyllostachys viridiglaucescens Pleioblastus fortunei Sasamorpha borealis Shibataea chinensis Shibataea kumasaca

Species tolerant of -20F (-29C)

Fargesia murieliae Fargesia nitida (all varieties) Phyllostachys nuda


Chapter 5

Bamboo Success
Q. Is Bamboo in Danger of Becoming Extinct
Pandas in China eat mainly bamboo, there isnt much left for them what can we do?

Bamboo is a very useful plant and has hundreds if not thousands of traditional uses. This fantastic grass thrives in a variety of climates and stands taller than any other grass. It plays an important role in providing refuge and food for rare species such as the giant panda of China and Africa's gorillas. The giant panda eats mainly bamboos from the species Fargesia i.e, Fargesia canaliculata, Fargesia denudata, Fargesia dracocephala, Fargesia emaculata, and Fargesia ferax These bamboos are small bamboos which are not easily accessible as they grow in remote areas where access is difficult. Therefore the commercial harvesting of this species of bamboo tends not to occur. The shortage of Bamboo in the 1980s was due to the flowering and subsequent death after flowering of the Fargesia bamboo. The Chinese government is encouraging the use of bamboo resources from commercial bamboo plantations as a substitute for timber from natural forests because bamboo is one of the fastest growing, shortest rotation and most productive forest resources in the world. The use of more bamboo products from plantations as a substitute for timber will reduce the stress on natural forests and thus contribute to protecting the giant pandas' habitats Recent publications have revealed that approx 1/3 of the worlds bamboo species is in danger of extinction. Bamboo has been known to spark famines that can affect millions of people, and different cultures have different opinions as to its real value. In North East India farmers want to cut down the bamboo before it flowers as they fear that once the bamboo flowers it will begin a plague of rats which will bring disease and unlimited damage to crops. However people across the rest of India specifically grow bamboo as it provides them with a natural material which they can use in a number of different ways. It is also used as a source of income from the sale of bamboo culms or shoots. Growing of bamboo on a large scale within India creates increased opportunities for employment so it is essential that a good quality source of plant materials are used for the plantations. Therefore there are a huge number of important factors to be taken into account when considering the pros and cons of bamboo and its importance to the environment and its inhabitants.


Q. What can Bamboo be used for?

Bamboo can be grown for a number of uses: a. It can be used for hedges, screens or as an architectural plant b. Bamboo can be grown commercially for a diverse range of uses c. Farmers in India set up Bamboo groves which are useful as wind breaks and sheltering animals from the weather. d. It can be used for food for animals and people. e. Craft Work

Q. Can I eat the shoots?

Bamboo shoots can be eaten and generally should be cooked before eating as some contain Cyanogens and should be properly prepared to ensure they are safe to eat. Cooking the shoots also removes some of the bitterness of the shoot, however some temperate bamboos can be eaten without being cooked. Phyllostachys Heterocycla pubescens also known as Phyllostachys edulis or Moso are known to have a potentially toxic amount of cyanogens and should not be eaten. Please note that this is general information only and we cannot be held responsible for any illness caused through eating of bamboo shoots.


Chapter 6
Bamboo Glossary


Auricle Cilium (pl. Cilia): Caepitose Clone

an ear-like appendage that occurs at the base of some leaves one of the marginal hairs bordering the auricle. -: growing in tufts, or close clumps, as in bamboos with sympodial rhizomes -: all the plants reproduced, vegetatively, from a single parent. In theory, all the plants from the same clone have the same genotype (genetic inheritance). -: the main stem of the Graminae (grasses). The stem of a bamboo is also referred as a cane. the plant casing (similar to a leaf) that protects the young bamboo shoot during growth, attached at each node of culm. Useful for distinguish species within a genus - seedling sports from a species which have multiplied from a single clonal source. A sport is a plant abnormally departing, especially in form or color, from the parent stock; a spontaneous mutation. usually occurs when all plants in a single clone (which has been repeatedly divided and distributed) flower at about the same time. -: water expelled over night as droplets from the tips of bamboo leaves segment of culm, branch, or rhizome between nodes. -: temperate, running bamboo rhizome. Its usually thinner then the culms they support and the internodes are long and hollow.


Culm Sheath


Gregarious flowering

Gutation Internode Leptomorphic



describes the growth habit of the rhizomes of running temperate bamboos. The main rhizome continues to grow underground, with some buds producing side shoots (new rhizomes) and others producing aerial shoots (new culms). joint between hollow segments of a culm, branch, or rhizome; the point at which a rigid membrane of vascular bundles lends strength to an axis of bamboo by crossing it from wall to wall describes the rhizomes of clumping bamboos. They are short and usually thicker then the culms they produce. These rhizomes have a circular cross-section that diminishes towards the tips. The internodes are short, thick (except the bud-bearing internodes, which are more elongated) and solid (with no cavities). See also Sympodial. a food-storing branch of the underground system of growth in bamboos from buds of which culms emerge above ground. Popularly known as rootstock, rhizomes are basically of two forms: sympodial (tropical, clumping, Pachimorph) and monopodial (temperate, running, Leptomorph husk-like protective organ attached basally to each rhizome node describes a bamboo whose rhizomes have a markedly horizontal growth habit, and tend to develop along the surface of the soil. the stage in the development of the bud before it becomes a culm with branches and leaves groove or depression running along the internodes of culms or branches




Rhizome sheathe Running





describes the growth habit of the rhizomes of caespitose bamboos. The rhizomes emerge from the lateral buds of other rhizomes, while the terminal buds produce new culms. See also Pachymorphic tender young shoot as it emerges from the ground without branches or leaves.



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