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
Plant growing in Singapore Botanic Gardens
Photograph by: Tristan Schmurr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
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[
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[
]. 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[
E. Asia - southern China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.
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[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the humid tropical lowlands, where it can be found at elevation up to 1,000 metres[
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 8 - 36°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 2,500mm, but tolerates 700 - 4,500mm[
Prefers a position in dappled shade, but also grows in full sun[
]. Grows best in a fertile, moist soil[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4 - 7[
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[
Twelve-year-old clumps are regarded as mature[
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[
Undisturbed clumps are almost impenetrable after some years because of the interlacing thorny branches[
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[
Young shoots - cooked[
]. They are often cooked in two changes of water to remove the bitterness[
]. The young shoots are harvested as they emerge from the soil.
The sugary sap is made into a drink[
The plant contains high levels of silica and is used in many ways in Ayurvedic medicine[
The root is astringent and cooling[
]. It is used to treat joint pain and general debility[
The leaves are antispasmodic and emmenagogue[
]. They are taken internally to stimulate menstruation and to help relieve period pain[
]. They are also taken to tone and strengthen stomach function; to expel worms; and have the reputation of being aphrodisiac[
The young sprouts, harvested as they emerge from below soil level, are taken internally to relieve nausea, indigestion and wind[
]. They are applied externally as a poultice to help drain infected wounds[
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[
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[
Planted along rivers in order to check floods[
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[
]. 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[
]. 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![
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[
The leaves are used for packing, as a filling for mattresses etc[
Seed - it has a short viability of less than 3 months in normal storage[
]. 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[
]. 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[
]. 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[
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[