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Useful Tropical Plants

Bambusa bambos

(L.) Voss

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Arundarbor agrestis (Lour.) Kuntze

Arundarbor arundinacea (Retz.) Kuntze

Arundarbor bambos (L.) Kuntze

Arundarbor orientalis (Nees) Kuntze

Arundarbor spinosa (Buch.-Ham.) Kuntze

Arundarbor teba (Miq.) Kuntze

Arundo agrestis Lour.

Arundo arborea Mill.

Arundo bambos L.

Arundo bambu Lour.

Arundo excelsa Salisb.

Arundo spinosa (Roxb. ex Buch.-Ham.) Oken

Bambos arundinacea Retz.

Bambos arundo J.F.Gmel.

Bambos bambos (L.) W.F.Wright

Bambos quinqueflora Stokes

Bambusa agrestis (Lour.) Poir.

Bambusa arundinacea (Retz.) Willd.

Bambusa arundo Wight ex Steud.

Bambusa bambusa Huth [Invalid]

Bambusa neesiana Arn. ex Munro

Bambusa orientalis Nees

Bambusa spinosa Roxb.

Bambusa spinosa Roxb. ex Buch.-Ham.

Ischurochloa arundinacea orientalis (Nees) Buse

Ischurochloa spinosa (Buch.-Ham.) Buse

Nastus arundinaceus (Retz.) Sm.

Common Name: Giant Thorny Bamboo

Bambusa bambos
Plant growing in Singapore Botanic Gardens
Photograph by: Tristan Schmurr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

General Information

Giant thorny bamboo is a huge, evergreen, perennial grass with spiny stems that can be 30 metres or more tall and 15 - 18cm in diameter[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The variety of purposes to which the bamboo is applied is almost endless. It is used in many parts of tropical Asia for food, medicines and a huge range of commodities[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It is widely harvested from the wild and is also often cultivated in the tropics, especially in Asia. It is, arguably, the most important single species on Earth for human use[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

E. Asia - southern China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.

Habitat

Found most abundantly in mixed moist deciduous forest, and not so commonly in mixed dry deciduous forest and in semi-evergreen forest, growing best along river valleys and in other moist conditions, on hills at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Bamboo
Height30.00 m
Growth RateFast
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the humid tropical lowlands, where it can be found at elevation up to 1,000 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 8 - 36°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 2,500mm, but tolerates 700 - 4,500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Prefers a position in dappled shade, but also grows in full sun[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Grows best in a fertile, moist soil[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4 - 7[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A fast-growing species, it forms a clump of stems up to about 5 metres tall within 7 years from seed and reaches full size after about 20 years, by which time there will be 25 - 50, perhaps even 100 culms[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]
Twelve-year-old clumps are regarded as mature[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Bamboos have an interesting method of growth. Each plant produces a number of new stems annually - these stems grow to their maximum height in their first year of growth, subsequent growth in the stem being limited to the production of new side branches and leaves. In the case of some mature tropical species the new stem could be as much as 30 metres tall, with daily increases in height of 30cm or more during their peak growth time. This makes them some of the fastest-growing species in the world[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Undisturbed clumps are almost impenetrable after some years because of the interlacing thorny branches[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant flowers gregariously over a region at intervals of 16 - 45 years. A complete flowering period of the whole clump takes as long as 3 years. This flowering is followed by the profuse production of seed, after which the old clump dies[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Edible Uses

Young shoots - cooked[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. They are often cooked in two changes of water to remove the bitterness[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. The young shoots are harvested as they emerge from the soil.

The sugary sap is made into a drink[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Seed[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The plant contains high levels of silica and is used in many ways in Ayurvedic medicine[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

The root is astringent and cooling[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. It is used to treat joint pain and general debility[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

The leaves are antispasmodic and emmenagogue[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. They are taken internally to stimulate menstruation and to help relieve period pain[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. They are also taken to tone and strengthen stomach function; to expel worms; and have the reputation of being aphrodisiac[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

The young sprouts, harvested as they emerge from below soil level, are taken internally to relieve nausea, indigestion and wind[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. They are applied externally as a poultice to help drain infected wounds[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

The juice of the plant is rich in silica and is taken internally to aid in the strengthening of cartilage in conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

One of the best bamboos for windy sites due to the strength of the culms, it is often planted to form wind-breaks around farms - when planted as a hedge around a farm or field, it requires little care[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Planted along rivers in order to check floods[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

The stems have a huge range of applications, being manufactured in different ways to make items as diverse as scaffolding, rafts, furniture, paper and dozens of other items[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
,
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. They are used to make the sails of ships, as well as their masts and rigging. Almost every article of furniture in houses, including mats, screens, chairs, tables, bedsteads and bedding, can be made from the stems. Household utensils, and even coarse underclothing, are made of this material. The whole stems are employed in shipbuilding, the construction of bridges, water pipes etc. Buckets, pitchers, flasks, and cups, are made from sections of the stems. Baskets, boxes, fans, hats, and jackets are made from split bamboo stems. Ropes and Chinese paper are made from the fibres in the stems. A Chinese umbrella consists of bamboo paper, with a bamboo handle and split bamboo for a frame[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. All sorts of agricultural implements, appliances for spinning cotton and wool or for reeling silk are often constructed entirely from bamboo. Very many articles of household use or decoration made from bamboo have become articles of commerce. So many and varied are the uses that it is possible to mention here only a part of them![
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Traditionally, when making paper, the stems are split into lengths of 90 - 120cm and placed in a layer in a tank. This is covered with lime, and alternate layers of bamboo and lime are so placed until the tank is full. Water is run in to cover the whole, and this is then left for three or four months, by which time the bamboo has become rotten. The soft bamboo is pounded in a mortar into a pulp, mixed with water, and then poured on square, sieve-like molds. The sheets are allowed to dry on the mold, then placed against a hot wall, and finally exposed to the sun[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The leaves are used for packing, as a filling for mattresses etc[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a short viability of less than 3 months in normal storage[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Surface sow in containers as soon as it is ripe, preferably at a temperature around 20°c. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination rates in excess of 80% can be expected, so long as the seed is of good quality, with the seed sometimes sprouting in as little as 5 - 10 days, though it can take 3 - 6 months[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Prick out the seedlings into containers when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a lightly shaded place until large enough to plant out.
Division as new growth commences[
220
Title
Bamboos of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Stapleton. C.
Publisher
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Year
1994
ISBN
0947643680
Description
An excelllent little booklet that looks in some detail at the native bamboos of Nepal, including looking at their uses.
]. Take divisions with at least three canes in the clump, trying to cause as little root disturbance to the main plant as possible. Grow them on in light shade in pots of a high fertility sandy medium. Mist the foliage regularly until plants are established. Plant them out into their permanent positions when a good root system has developed, which can take a year or more[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants can be propagated vegetatively by rhizome, culm and branch cuttings. The propagules are raised in a nursery and after they have produced roots and developed rhizomes they are planted out in the field during the rainy season in pits filled with a mixture of compost and soil[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

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