Bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Bambusoideae
Supertribe: Bambusodae
Tribe: Bambuseae
Kunth ex Dumort.

See the full Taxonomy of the Bambuseae.

Around 92 genera and 5,000 species

Bamboo Template:Audio is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family.

In bamboo, as with other grasses, the internodal regions of the plant stem are hollow and the vascular bundles in the cross section are scattered throughout the stem instead of in a cylindrical arrangement. The dicotyledonous woody xylem is also absent. The absence of secondary growth wood causes the stems of monocots, even of palms and large bamboos, to be columnar rather than tapering.[1]

Bamboos are also the fastest growing woody plants in the world.[citation needed] They are capable of growing up to 60 cm (24 in.) or more per day due to a unique rhizome-dependent system. However, this astounding growth rate is highly dependent on local soil and climatic conditions.

Bamboos are of notable economic and cultural significance in East Asia and South East Asia where the stems are used extensively in everyday life as building materials and as a highly versatile raw product, and the shoots as a food source.

Genus and geographyEdit

There are more than 70 genera divided into about 1,450 species.[2] They are found in diverse climates, from cold mountains to hot tropical regions. They occur across East Asia, from 50°N latitude in Sakhalin[citation needed] through to Northern Australia, and west to India and the Himalayas.[3] They also occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the Americas from the Mid-Atlantic United States[4] south to Argentina and Chile, reaching their southernmost point anywhere, at 47°S latitude. Continental Europe is not known to have any native species of bamboo.[5]

There have recently been some attempts to grow bamboo on a commercial basis in the Great Lakes region of eastern-central Africa, especially in Rwanda.[6][7]



Bamboo Leaves

Bamboo plants growing in the Philippines

Bamboo is the fastest-growing woody plant on Earth; it has been measured surging skyward as fast as 121 cm (48 in) in a 24-hour period,[8] and can also reach maximal growth rate exceeding one metre (39 inches) per hour for short periods of time. Many prehistoric bamboos exceeded heights of 85 metres (279 ft)[citation needed]. Primarily growing in regions of warmer climates during the Cretaceous period, vast fields existed in what is now Asia.

Unlike trees, all bamboo have the potential to grow to full height and girth in a single growing season of 3–4 months. During this first season, the clump of young shoots grow vertically, with no branching. In the next year, the pulpy wall of each culm slowly dries and hardens. The culm begins to sprout branches and leaves from each node. During the third year, the culm further hardens. The shoot is now considered a fully mature culm. Over the next 2–5 years (depending on species), fungus and mould begin to form on the outside of the culm, which eventually penetrate and overcome the culm. Around 5 – 8 years later (species and climate dependent), the fungal and mold growth cause the culm to collapse and decay. This brief life means culms are ready for harvest and suitable for use in construction within 3 – 7 years.

Mass floweringEdit

Although some bamboos flower every year, most species flower infrequently. In fact, many bamboos only flower at intervals as long as 60 or 120 years. These taxa exhibit mass flowering (or gregarious flowering), with all plants in the population flowering simultaneously. The longest mass flowering interval known is 130 years, and is found for all the species Phyllostachys bambusoides (Sieb. & Zucc.). In this species, all plants of the same stock flower at the same time, regardless of differences in geographic locations or climatic conditions, then the bamboo dies. The lack of environmental impact on the time of flowering indicates the presence of some sort of “alarm clock” in each cell of the plant which signals the diversion of all energy to flower production and the cessation of vegetative growth.[9] This mechanism, as well as the evolutionary cause behind it, is still largely a mystery.

One theory to explain the evolution of this semelparous mass flowering is the predator satiation hypothesis. This theory argues that by fruiting at the same time, a population increases the survival rate of their seeds by flooding the area with fruit so that even if predators eat their fill, there will still be seeds left over. By having a flowering cycle longer than the lifespan of the rodent predators, bamboos can regulate animal populations by causing starvation during the period between flowering events. Thus, according to this hypothesis, the death of the adult clone is due to resource exhaustion, as it would be more effective for parent plants to devote all resources to creating a large seed crop than to hold back energy for their own regeneration.[10]

A second theory, the fire cycle hypothesis, argues that periodic flowering followed by death of the adult plants has evolved as a mechanism to create disturbance in the habitat, thus providing the seedlings with a gap in which to grow. This hypothesis argues that the dead culms create a large fuel load, and also a large target for lightning strikes, increasing the likelihood of wildfire.[11] Because bamboos are very aggressive as early successional plants, the seedlings would be able to outstrip other plants and take over the space left by their parents.

However, both have been disputed for different reasons. The predator satiation theory does not explain why the flowering cycle is 10 times longer than the lifespan of the local rodents, something not predicted by the theory. The bamboo fire cycle theory is considered by a few scientists to be unreasonable; they argue[12] that fires only result from humans and there is no natural fire in India. This notion is considered wrong based on distribution of lightning strike data during the dry season throughout India. However, another argument against this theory is the lack of precedent for any living organism to harness something as unpredictable as lightning strikes to increase its chance of survival as part of natural evolutionary progress.[13]

The mass fruiting also has direct economic and ecological consequences, however. The huge increase in available fruit in the forests often causes a boom in rodent populations, leading to increases in disease and famine in nearby human populations. For example, there are devastating consequences when the Melocanna bambusoides population flowers and fruits once every 30–35 years around the Bay of Bengal. The death of the bamboo plants following their fruiting means the local people lose their building material, and the large increase in bamboo fruit leads to a rapid increase in rodent populations. As the number of rodents increase, they consume all available food, including grain fields and stored food, sometimes leading to famine. These rats can also carry dangerous diseases such as typhus, typhoid, and bubonic plague, which can reach epidemic proportions as the rodents increase in number.[9][10]

Bamboo in animal dietsEdit

Panda eating Bamboo

Bamboo is the main food of the Giant Panda; it makes up 99% of the Panda's diet.

Soft bamboo shoots, stems, and leaves are the major food source of the Giant Panda of China and the Red Panda of Nepal. Rats will eat the fruits as described above. Mountain Gorillas of Africa also feed on bamboo and have been documented consuming bamboo sap which was fermented and alcoholic;[citation needed] chimps and elephants of the region also eat the stalks.[14]



Commercial timberEdit

Timber is harvested from cultivated and wild stands and some of the larger bamboos, particularly species in the genus Phyllostachys, are known as "timber bamboos".


Bamboo used for construction purposes must be harvested when the culms reach their greatest strength and when sugar levels in the sap are at their lowest, as high sugar content increases the ease and rate of pest infestation.

Harvesting of bamboo is typically undertaken according to the following cycles.

1) Life cycle of the clump: As each individual culm goes through a 5-7 year life cycle, culms are ideally allowed to reach this level of maturity prior to full capacity harvesting. The clearing out or thinning of culms, particularly older decaying culms, helps to ensure adequate light and resources for new growth. Well maintained clumps may have a productivity 3-4 times that of an unharvested wild clump.

2) Life cycle of the culm: As per the life cycle described above, bamboo is harvested from 2–3 years through to 5–7 years, depending on the species.

3) Annual cycle: As all growth of new bamboo occurs during the wet season, disturbing the clump during this phase will potentially damage the upcoming crop. Also during this high rain fall period, sap levels are at their highest and then diminish towards the dry season. Picking immediately prior to the wet/growth season may also damage new shoots. Hence harvesting is best at the end of the dry season, a few months prior to the start of the wet.

4) Daily cycle: During the height of the day, Photosynthesis is at its peak producing the highest levels of sugar in sap, making this the least ideal time of day to harvest. Many traditional practitioners believe that the best time to harvest is at dawn or dusk on a full moon. This practice makes sense in terms of both moon cycles, visibility and daily cycles.


Leaching is the removal of sap post-harvest. In many areas of the world the sap levels in harvested bamboo are reduced either through leaching or post-harvest photosynthesis. Examples of this practice include:

  1. Cut bamboo is raised clear of the ground and leant against the rest of the clump for 1–2 weeks until leaves turn yellow to allow full consumption of sugars by the plant
  2. A similar method is undertaken but with the base of the culm standing in fresh water, either in a large drum or stream to leach out sap
  3. Cut culms are immersed in a running stream and weighted down for 3–4 weeks
  4. Water is pumped through the freshly cut culms forcing out the sap (this method is often used in conjunction with the injection of some form of treatment)

In the process of water leaching, the bamboo is dried slowly and evenly in the shade to avoid cracking in the outer skin of the bamboo, thereby reducing opportunities for pest infestation.

Durability of bamboo in construction is directly related to how well it is handled from the moment of planting through harvesting, transportation, storage, design, construction and maintenance. Bamboo harvested at the correct time of year and then exposed to ground contact or rain, will break down just as quickly as incorrectly harvested material.

Ornamental bamboosEdit

There are two general patterns for the growth of bamboo: "clumping" (sympodial) and "running" (monopodial). Clumping bamboo species tend to spread slowly, as the growth pattern of the rhizomes is to simply expand the root mass gradually, similar to ornamental grasses. "Running" bamboos, on the other hand, need to be taken care of in cultivation because of their potential for aggressive behavior. They spread mainly through their roots and/or rhizomes, which can spread widely underground and send up new culms to break through the surface. Running bamboo species are highly variable in their tendency to spread; this is related to both the species and the soil and climate conditions. Some can send out runners of several metres a year, while others can stay in the same general area for long periods. If neglected, over time they can cause problems by moving into adjacent areas.

Phyllostachys nigra folium

Bamboo foliage with black stems (probably Phyllostachys nigra)

Bamboos seldom and unpredictably flower, and the frequency of flowering varies greatly from species to species. Once flowering takes place, a plant will decline and often die entirely. Although there are always a few species of bamboo in flower at any given time, collectors desiring to grow specific bamboo typically obtain their plants as divisions of already-growing plants, rather than waiting for seeds to be produced.

Regular maintenance will indicate major growth directions and locations. Once the rhizomes are cut, they are typically removed; however, rhizomes take a number of months to mature and an immature, severed rhizome will usually cease growing if left in-ground. If any bamboo shoots come up outside of the bamboo area afterwards, their presence indicates the precise location of the missed rhizome. The fibrous roots that radiate from the rhizomes do not produce more bamboo if they stay in the ground.

Bamboo growth can also be controlled by surrounding the plant or grove with a physical barrier. Typically, concrete and specially-rolled HDPE plastic are the materials used to create the barrier, which is placed in a 60–90 cm (2.0–3.0 ft) deep ditch around the planting, and angled out at the top to direct the rhizomes to the surface. (This is only possible if the barrier is installed in a straight line.) This method is very detrimental to ornamental bamboo as the bamboo within quickly becomes rootbound—showing all the signs of any unhealthy containerized plant. Symptoms include rhizomes escaping over the top, down underneath, and bursting the barrier. The bamboo within generally deteriorates in quality as fewer and fewer culms grow each year, culms live shorter periods, new culm diameter decreases, fewer leaves grow on the culms, and leaves turn yellow as the unnaturally contained rootmass quickly depletes the soil of nutrients, and curling leaves as the condensed roots cannot collect the water they need to sustain the foliage. Strong rhizomes and tools can penetrate plastic barriers with relative ease, so great care must be taken. Barriers usually fail sooner or later, or the bamboo within suffers greatly. Casual observation of many failed barriers has shown bursting of Template:Convert/mil HDPE in 5–6 years, and rhizomes diving underneath in as few as 3 years post install. In small areas regular maintenance is the only perfect method of controlling the spreading bamboos. Bamboo contained by barriers is much more difficult to remove than free-spreading bamboo. Barriers and edging are unnecessary for clump-forming bamboos. Clump-forming bamboos may eventually need to have portions removed if they become too large.

The ornamental plant sold in containers and marketed as "lucky bamboo" is actually an entirely unrelated plant, Dracaena sanderiana. It is a resilient member of the lily family that grows in the dark, tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and Africa. Lucky Bamboo has long been associated with the Eastern practice of Feng Shui. On a similar note, Japanese knotweed is also sometimes mistaken for a bamboo but it grows wild and is considered an invasive species.




Edible bamboo shoots in a Japanese market

Main article: Bamboo shoot

The shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of bamboo are edible. They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, both fresh and canned version. The shoots of the giant bamboo contain cyanide. Despite this, the Golden Bamboo Lemur ingests many times the quantity of toxin that would kill a human.

The bamboo shoot in its fermented state forms an important ingredient in cuisines across the Himalayas. In Assam, for example, it is called khorisa. In Nepal, a delicacy popular across ethnic boundaries consists of bamboo shoots fermented with turmeric and oil, and cooked with potatoes into a dish that usually accompanies rice (alu tama in Nepali).

In Indonesia, they are sliced thin and then boiled with santan (thick coconut milk) and spices to make a dish called gulai rebung. Other recipes using bamboo shoots are sayur lodeh (mixed vegetables in coconut milk) and lun pia (sometimes written lumpia: fried wrapped bamboo shoots with vegetables). The shoots of some species contain toxins that need to be leached or boiled out before they can be eaten safely.

Pickled bamboo, used as a condiment, may also be made from the pith of the young shoots.

The sap of young stalks tapped during the rainy season may be fermented to make ulanzi (a sweet wine) or simply made into a soft drink. Bamboo leaves are also used as wrappers for steamed dumplings which usually contains glutinous rice and other ingredients.

In Sambalpur, India, the tender shoots are grated into juliennes and fermented to prepare kardi. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word for bamboo shoot, "karira". This fermented bamboo shoot is used in various culinary preparations, notably "amil", a sour vegetable soup. It is also made into pancakes using rice flour as a binding agent. The shoots that have turned a little fibrous are fermented, dried, and ground to sand sized particles to prepare a garnish known as "hendua". It is also cooked with tender pumpkin leaves to make sag green leaves.

The empty hollow in the stalks of larger bamboo is often used to cook food in many Asian cultures. Soups are boiled and rice is cooked in the hollows of fresh stalks of bamboo directly over a flame. Similarly, steamed tea is sometimes rammed into bamboo hollows to produce compressed forms of Pu-erh tea. Cooking food in bamboo is said to give the food a subtle but distinctive taste.

In addition, bamboo is frequently used for cooking utensils within many cultures and used in the manufacture of chopsticks. In modern times, some see bamboo tools as an eco-friendly alternative to other manufactured utensils.


Bamboo is used in Chinese medicine for treating infections and healing.

It is a low-calorie source of potassium. It is known for its sweet taste and as a good source of nutrients and protein.

In Ayurveda, the Indian system of traditional medicine, the silicious concretion found in the culms of the bamboo stem is called banslochan. It is known as tabashir or tawashir in Unani-Tibb the Indo-Persian system of medicine. In English it is called "bamboo manna". This concretion is said to be a tonic for the respiratory diseases. It was earlier obtained from Melocanna bambusoides and is very hard to get; it has been largely replaced by synthetic silicic acid. In most Indian literature, Bambusa arundinacea is described as the source of bamboo manna.[15]

In Nagaland, one of the states of Northeast India, Bammboo shoots is one of the favorite culinaries for the tribals of the region.Young bamboo shoots are harvested and fermented and stored in plastic container to be used throughout the year. The juice of the fermented bambooshoots are also stored in container and used as taste maker in various crry including meat and fishes. Dry bambooshoots are also one of the favorite curry of the indeginous people. Fresh bamboo shoots are also savoured by the people of the region which also supplementary diet during food shortage or famine.



Bamboo scaffolding can reach great heights.

 house from Bambou Habitat

House made entirely of bamboo

In its natural form, bamboo as a construction material is traditionally associated with the cultures of East Asia and the South Pacific, to some extent in Central and South America and by extension in the aesthetic of Tiki culture. In China, bamboo was used to hold up simple suspension bridges, either by making cables of split bamboo or twisting whole culms of sufficiently pliable bamboo together. One such bridge in the area of Qian-Xian is referenced in writings dating back 960 A.D. and may have stood since as far back as the 3rd century B.C., due largely to continuous maintenance.[16] It has long been used as scaffolding; the practice has been banned in China for buildings over six storeys but is still in continuous use for skyscrapers in Hong Kong.[17] In the Philippines, the Nipa Hut is a fairly typical example of the most basic sort of housing that bamboo is used for; the walls are split and woven bamboo and bamboo slats and poles may be used as its support. In Japanese architecture, bamboo is used primarily as a supplemental and/or decorative element in buildings such as fencing, fountains, grates and gutters, largely due to the ready abundance of quality timber wood.[18]

Various structural shapes may be made by training the bamboo to assume them as it grows. Squared sections of bamboo are created by compressing the growing stalk within a square form.[19] Arches may similarly be created by forcing the bamboo's growth with the desired form and costs many times less than it would to assume the same shape in regular wood timber. More traditional forming methods such as the application of heat and pressure may also be used to curve or flatten the cut stalks.[20]

Bamboo can be cut and laminated into sheets and planks. This process involves cutting stalks into thin strips, planing them flat, boiling and drying the strips which are then glued, pressed and finished.[21] Generally long used in China and Japan, entrepreneurs started developing and selling laminated bamboo flooring in the West during the mid 1990s;[21] products made from bamboo laminate including flooring, cabinetry, furniture and even decorative use are currently surging in popularity, transitioning from the boutique market to mainstream providers such as Home Depot. The bamboo goods industry (which also includes small goods, fabric, etc.) is expected to be worth $25 billion by the year 2012.[22] The quality of bamboo laminate varies between manufacturers and the maturity of the plant from which it was harvested (6 years being considered the optimum); the sturdiest products fulfill their claims of being up to three times harder than oak hardwood but others may be softer than standard hardwood.[21]

Bamboo intended for use in construction should be treated to resist insects and rot. The most common solution for this purpose is a mixture of borax and boric acid.[23] Another process involves boiling cut bamboo in order to remove the starches that attract bugs.[21]

Bug Dome by WEAK! in Shenzhen Marco Casagrande

Bamboo pavilion in the Shenzhen Biennale.

Bamboo has been used as reinforcement for concrete in those areas where it is plentiful, though dispute exists over its effectiveness in the various studies done on the subject. Bamboo does have the necessary strength to fulfil this function, but untreated bamboo will swell from the absorption of water from the concrete, causing it to crack. Several procedures must be followed to overcome this shortcoming.[24]

Several institutes, businesses, and universities are working on the bamboo as an ecological construction material. In the United States and France, it is possible to get houses made entirely of bamboo, which are earthquake and cyclone-resistant and internationally certified. In Bali Indonesia there is an International primary school, named the Green School, which is constructed entirely of bamboo, due to its beauty, and advantages as a sustainable resource. There are three ISO standards for bamboo as a construction material.

In parts of India, bamboo is used (- apart from common uses like making ladders, which in addition to all other uses for ladders are also used for carrying bodies in funerals -) for drying clothes indoors, both as the rod high up near the ceiling to hang clothes on as well as the stick that is wielded with acquired expert skill to hoist, spread, and to take down the clothes when dry. In Maharashtra the bamboo groves and forests are called VeLuvana, the name VeLu for Bamboo most likely from Sanskrit, while Vana is forest.


There are two methods by which bamboo may be processed into fiber for fabric, both developed in China. The first is a mechanical process similar to that used to process flax or hemp; the stalks are crushed and natural enzymes break them down further, allowing fibers to be combed out.[25] The other follows the process by which rayon is made where the fibers are broken down with chemicals and extruded through mechanical spinnerets; the chemicals include lye, carbon disulfide and strong acids.[21] Retailers have sold both end products as "bamboo fabric" to cash in on bamboo's current eco-friendly cachet, however the Canadian Competition Bureau[26] and the US Federal Trade Commission[27], as of mid-2009, are cracking down on the practice of labeling bamboo rayon as natural bamboo fabric. Under the guidelines of both agencies these products must be labeled as rayon with the optional qualifier "from bamboo". Bamboo fabric is known for its softness and boasts strong absorbency and anti-microbial properties, though the chemical process in bamboo rayon destroys any anti-microbial quality.[27]

In addition, the fiber of bamboo has been used to make paper in China since early times. A high quality hand-made paper is still produced in small quantities. Coarse bamboo paper is still used to make spirit money in many Chinese communities.[28]

Musical instrumentsEdit

Bamboo's natural hollow form makes it an obvious choice for many instruments, particularly wind and percussion. There are numerous types of bamboo flute made all over the world, such as the dizi, xiao, shakuhachi, palendag, jinghu, angklung. In India it is a very popular and highly respected musical instrument, available even to the poorest and the choice of many highly venerated maestros of classical music. It is known and revered above all as the divine flute forever associated with Lord Krishna, who is always portrayed holding a bansuri in sculptures and paintings. The Bamboo Organ of Las Piñas, Philippines has pipes made of bamboo culms. Four of the instruments used in Polynesia for traditional hula are made of bamboo: nose flute, rattle, stamping pipes and the Jew's harp. Bamboo may be used in the construction of the Australian didgeridoo instead of the more traditional eucalyptus wood. In Indonesia, bamboo has been used for making various kinds of musical instruments including the kolintang and the angklung. The modern amplified string instrument the Chapman Stick is also constructed using bamboo. The khene (also spelled "khaen", "kaen" and "khen"; Lao: ແຄນ, Thai: แคน) is a mouth organ of Lao origin whose pipes, which are usually made of bamboo, are connected with a small, hollowed-out hardwood reservoir into which air is blown, creating a sound similar to that of the violin.

Water processingEdit

Bamboo as a versatile material is demonstrated by its use in water desalination. A Bamboo filter is used to remove the salt from saltwater.[29]


Several manufacturers offer bamboo bicycles.[30]

Bamboo in Asian cultureEdit

Hsü Wei 001

Bamboo, by Xu Wei, Ming Dynasty.

Bamboo's long life makes it a Chinese symbol of longevity, while in India it is a symbol of friendship. The rarity of its blossoming has led to the flowers' being regarded as a sign of impending famine. This may be due to rats feeding upon the profusion of flowers, then multiplying and destroying a large part of the local food supply. The most recent flowering began in May 2006 (see Mautam). Bamboo is said to bloom in this manner only about every 50 years (see 28–60 year examples in FAO: 'gregarious' species table).

In Chinese culture, the bamboo, plum blossom, orchid, and chrysanthemum (often known as méi lán zhú jú 梅兰竹菊) are collectively referred to as the Four Noble Ones. These four plants also represent the four seasons and, in Confucian ideology, four aspects of the junzi ("prince" or "noble one").

The pine tree, the bamboo, and the plum blossom (song zhú méi 松竹梅) are also admired for their perseverance under harsh conditions, and are together known as the "Three Friends in Winter" (岁寒三友). The "Three Friends" is traditionally used as a system of ranking in Japan, for example in sushi sets or accommodations at a traditional Ryokan (inn). Pine (matsu 松) is of the first rank, bamboo (také 竹) is of second rank, and plum (ume 梅) is of the third.

In Japan, a bamboo forest sometimes surrounds a Shinto shrine as part of a sacred barrier against evil. Many Buddhist temples also have bamboo groves.

In northern Indian state of Assam, the fermented bamboo paste known as khorisa is known locally as a folk remedy for the treatment of impotence, infertility, and menstrual pains.

Freer 022

A cylindrical bamboo brush holder or holder of poems on scrolls, created by Zhang Xihuang in the 17th century, late Ming or early Qing Dynasty. In the calligraphy of Zhang's style, the poem Returning to My Farm in the Field by the 4th century poet Tao Yuanming is incised on the holder.

Bamboo plays an important part of the culture of Vietnam. Bamboo symbolizes the spirit of Vovinam (a Vietnamese martial arts): "cương nhu phối triển" (coordination between hard and soft (martial arts)). Bamboo also symbolizes the Vietnamese hometown and Vietnamese soul: the gentlemanlike, straightforwardness, hard working, optimism, unity and adaptableness. A Vietnamese proverb says: "When the bamboo is old, the bamboo sprouts appear", the meaning being Vietnam will never be annihilated; if the previous generation dies, the children take their place. Therefore the Vietnam nation and Vietnamese value will be maintained and developed eternally. Traditional Vietnamese villages are surrounded by thick bamboo hedges (lũy tre).

The ethnic group known as the Bozo of West Africa, take their name from the Bambara phrase bo-so, which means "bamboo house".

The Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) Chinese scientist and polymath Shen Kuo (1031–1095) used the evidence of underground petrified bamboo found in the dry northern climate of Yan'an, Shanbei region, Shaanxi province to support his geological theory of gradual climate change.[31][32]

Myths and legendsEdit

Several Asian cultures, including that of the Andaman Islands, believe that humanity emerged from a bamboo stem. In the Philippine creation myth, legend tells that the first man and the first woman each emerged from split bamboo stems on an island created after the battle of the elemental forces (Sky and Ocean). In Malaysian legends a similar story includes a man who dreams of a beautiful woman while sleeping under a bamboo plant; he wakes up and breaks the bamboo stem, discovering the woman inside. The Japanese folktale "Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" (Taketori Monogatari) tells of a princess from the Moon emerging from a shining bamboo section. Hawaiian bamboo ('ohe) is a kinolau or body form of the Polynesian creator god Kāne.

Bamboo cane is also the weapon of Vietnamese legendary hero Saint Giong- who had grown up immediately and magically since the age of 3 years old because of his national liberating wish against Ân invaders.

An ancient Vietnamese legend (The Hundred-knot Bamboo Tree) tells of a poor, young farmer who fell in love with his landlord's beautiful daughter. The farmer asked the landlord for his daughter's hand in marriage, but the proud landlord would not allow her to be bound in marriage to a poor farmer. The landlord decided to foil the marriage with an impossible deal; the farmer must bring him a "bamboo tree of one-hundred nodes". But Buddha (Bụt) appeared to the farmer and told him that such a tree could be made from one-hundred nodes from several different trees. Bụt gave to him four magic words to attach the many nodes of bamboo: "Khắc nhập, khắc xuất", which means "joined together immediately, fell apart immediately". The triumphant farmer returned to the landlord and demanded his daughter. Curious to see such a long bamboo, the landlord was magically joined to the bamboo when he touched it as the young farmer said the first two magic words. The story ends with the happy marriage of the farmer and the landlord's daughter after the landlord agreed to the marriage and asked to be separated from the bamboo.

Bamboo as a writing surfaceEdit

Main article: Bamboo and Wooden slips (writing material)

Bamboo was in widespread use in early China as a medium for written documents. The earliest surviving examples of such documents, written in ink on string-bound bundles of bamboo strips (or "slips"), date from the 5th c. BC during the Warring States period. However, references in earlier texts surviving on other media make it clear that some precursor of these Warring States period bamboo slips was in use as early as the late Shang period (from about 1250 BC).

Bamboo or wooden strips were the standard writing material during the Han dynasty and excavated examples have been found in abundance.[33] Subsequently, paper began to displace bamboo and wooden strips from mainstream uses, and by the 4th c. AD bamboo had been largely abandoned as a medium for writing in China. Several Paper industries are surviving on Bamboo forests. Ballarpur(Chandrapur, Maharstra) paper mills uses bamboo for paper production.

See alsoEdit


  1. Botany; Wilson,C.L. and Loomis,W.E. Third edition. Holt, Rinehart and Winston
  2. Gratani, Loretta; Maria Fiore Crescente, Laura Varone, Giuseppe Fabrini, and Eleonora Digiulio (2008). "Growth pattern and photosynthetic activity of different bamboo species growing in the Botanical Garden of Rome". Flora 203: 77–84. .
  3. Bystriakova, N.; N. Bystriakova, V. Kapos, I. Lysenko and C.M.A. Stapleton (September 2003). "Distribution and conservation status of forest bamboo biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific Region". Biodiversity and Conservation 12 (9): 1833–1841. doi:10.1023/A:1024139813651. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  4. "Arundinaria gigantea (Walt.) Muhl. giant cane". PLANTS Database. USDA. 
  5. editor-in-chief, Anthony Huxley, editor, Mark Griffiths, managing editor, Margot Levy. (1992). Huxley. ed. New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. ISBN 0-333-47494-5. 
  7. "Cash in on Bamboo farming, Bazivamo urges farmers," Stevenson Mugisha, The New Times, June 7, 2010
  8. Farrelly, David (1984). The Book of Bamboo. Sierra Club Books. ISBN 087156825X. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Thomas R. Soderstrom; Cleofe E. Calderon; Thomas R. Soderstrom; Cleofe E. Calderon; T.R. Soderstrom, C.E. Calderon (1979). "A Commentary on the Bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae)". Biotropica 11 (3): 161–172. doi:10.2307/2388036. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Janzen, DH. (1976). "Why Bamboos Wait so Long to Flower". Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 7: 347–391. doi:10.1146/ 
  11. "Mast flowering and semelparity in bamboos: The bamboo fire cycle hypothesis". American Naturalist (154): 383–391. 1999. 
  12. "The Bamboo Fire Cycle Hypothesis: A Comment". The American Naturalist 6 (158): 659–663. 2001. 
  13. "On incorporating fire into our thinking about natural ecosystems: A response to Saha and Howe". American Naturalist (158): 664–670. 2001. 
  14. "Gorillas get drunk on bamboo sap". 23 March 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2009. 
  15. Puri, H. S. (2003). Rasayana ayurvedic herbs for longevity and rejuvenation. London: Taylor & Francis. pp. 71–73. ISBN 0203216563. Retrieved 12 August 2009. 
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External linksEdit




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