About Bamboo

Author: Sharon  

Bamboo is organically grown, rarely requires pesticides and uses little water.
Bamboo grows more rapidly than trees and starts to yield within four to five years of planting. Once established a stand of bamboo can be harvested yearly and will reap one and a half times its previous size.  

From an economic point of view, the establishment of a bamboo plantation requires a minimal capital investment and builds upon the inherent plant-cultivation skills of local farmers and foresters. Bamboo is excellent for restoring degraded lands, protecting against soil erosion and purifying the air plus it can be harvested without use of destructive mechanisms. Bamboo can easily be intercropped with vegetable and the whole bamboo plant is beneficial for rural livelihood. The poles (technically referred to as 'culms') are useful as a construction material; the young shoots are edible; the leaves make good animal fodder; and branches are useful for making handicrafts.

Did you know that as the worlds fastest growing and environmentally friendly plant, the Japanese planted bamboo to help counteract the effects of the atomic bomb..

A very brief Bamboo Glossary


Auricle: an ear-like appendage that occurs at the base of some leaves.

Cilium (pl. Cilia): one of the marginal hairs bordering the auricle.

Caepitose: growing in tufts, or close clumps, as in bamboos with sympodial rhizomes.

Clone: all the plants reproduced, vegetatively, from a single parent. In theory, all the plants from the same clone have the same genotype (genetic inheritance).

Culm: the main stem of the Graminae (grasses). The stem of a bamboo is also referred as a cane.

Culm Sheath: 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.

Cultivar: 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.

Gregarious flowering: usually occurs when all plants in a single clone (which has been repeatedly divided and distributed) flower at about the same time.

Gutation: water expelled over night as droplets from the tips of bamboo leaves. Internode: segment of culm, branch, or rhizome between nodes.

Leptomorphic: temperate, running bamboo rhizome. Is usually thinner then the culms they support and the internodes are long and hollow.

Monopodial: 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). Node: the 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.

Pachymorphic: 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.

Rhizome: 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).

Rhizome sheathe: husk-like protective organ attached basally to each rhizome node.

Running: describes a bamboo whose rhizomes have a markedly horizontal growth habit, and tend to develop along the surface of the soil.

Shoot: the stage in the development of the bud before it becomes a culm with branches and leaves.

Sulcus: a groove or depression running along the internodes of culms or branches.

Sympodial: 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.

Turion: the tender young shoot as it emerges from the ground without branches or leaves.

More than 200 species of bamboo are recognized, varying in size from a few feet to more than 100 in height. The tender, young shoot growth of many of these species is used as food, in the United States mainly in Chinese dishes. Sprouts harvested in the United States are limited to Hawaii and Puerto Rico, but substantial quantities are imported. Since new sprout growth quickly becomes hard and woody, the maximum period of exposure of edible parts to direct pesticide application would be approximately a month.