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Useful Tropical Plants

Bambusa blumeana

Schult. & Schult.f.

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Bambusa pungens Blanco

Bambusa spinosa Blume ex Nees

Common Name: Spiny Bamboo

Bambusa blumeana
Young cane
Photograph by: Richard Parker
Creative Commons License
Bambusa blumeana Bambusa blumeana

General Information

Spiny bamboo is a densely tufted, sympodial bamboo, with spiny basal branches forming a densely interlaced thicket to 2 - 3 metres high[
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 erect culms are up to 15 - 25 metres tall and 20cm 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.
,
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.
].
This is the most important bamboo in the Philippines for providing material for construction etc. It has long been cultivated on a local scale but is now also grown on a large scale and exported as a raw material or finished goods to many other countries[
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 is also often grown as an ornamental[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

Exact origin uncertain, but believed to be native in Sumatra, Java, Lesser Sunda Islands and Borneo.

Habitat

Often found on heavy soils and on marginal land at elevations up to 300 metres, it grows well along river banks, hill slopes and freshwater creeks and tolerates flooding[
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 *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Bamboo
Height20.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 300 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 32°c, but can tolerate 8 - 37°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 can be killed by temperatures of -1°c or lower[
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 1,500 - 4,000mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 5,000mm[
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.
].
Plants grow best on heavier, fertile soils[
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.
]. Intolerant of saline soils[
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.
]. Tolerant of occasional inundation of the soil[
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 pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 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.
].
Planted culm cuttings at first send up thin shoots and culms are produced only after about 3 years. The number and size of the culms produced increases yearly until the clump reaches maturity. A planted cutting develops into a harvestable clump in 6 - 8 years. A mature clump (containing 10 - 40 culms) may develop about 30 shoots per year of which only about one-third to one-fourth reaches maturity because of diseases and pests, wind damage, and shortage of water and nutrients[
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.
].
New shoots emerge during the rainy season and can be harvested for food after 7 - 15 days[
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.
].
Culms reach about full height in approximately 5 months, which means for the larger culms (growing to 25 metres or more) there is a daily height increase of about 17 cm. The most rapid growth usually occurs near the end of the growth period in the latter part of the rainy season. In that period, daily height increase may reach 45 cm on average[
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 harvesting of culms depends on the intended end use but should preferably be effected in the dry season. For handicraft purposes, 1-year-old culms can be taken. For construction purposes, 3-year-old culms are suitable. Culms are cut 2 - 3 metres above the ground, just above the dense growth of spiny branches. The remaining basal portion should be cut back close to the ground within 6 months of the harvest. In order to ensure sustained yield, the number of culms that can be cut annually should not exceed 60% of the standing mature culms in the clump[
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.
].
About 6 - 7 edible shoots can be harvested per clump per year[
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.
].
Managed (cleaned) clumps produce an average of 8 mature culms per year (800 - 1200/ha), whilst unmanaged (uncleaned) clumps only 5 (500 - 750/ha)[
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.
].
Removal of the basal spiny thickets and basal parts of harvested culms makes access easier, promotes the development of healthy shoots and reduces the number of deformed 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.
].
Bamboos in general are usually monocarpic, living for many years before flowering, then flowering and seeding profusely for a period of 1 - 3 years before usually dying. Spiny bamboo flowers very rarely, perhaps once in 20 - 30 years[
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 are eaten as a vegetable, usually boiled and shredded[
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.
,
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 young shoots are harvested as they emerge from the soil.

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

It is often planted along water courses to prevent soil erosion[310.
Planted around farmhouses as wind-breaks, in fields as living fences or to mark boundaries[
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 culms walls are up to 3 cm thick; the internodes are usually hollow, 25 - 60cm long[
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.
]. They are used as scaffolding in construction, for basketry (baskets are very popular), furniture, parquets, concrete reinforcements, kitchen utensils, chopsticks, hats and toys[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
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.
]. They are suitable for making paper[
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.
].
They are also used as firewood if wood is scarce[
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 natural durability of untreated culms is poor: 1 - 3 years outdoors, 2 - 5 years indoors, 6 months or less in seawater[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed - 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 usually takes place fairly quickly so long as the seed is of good quality, 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. Plants only flower at intervals of many years and so seed is rarely available.
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.
].
Propagation by culm cuttings is most common. Culm cuttings about 50 cm long (with 2 - 3 nodes) are taken from the middle portion of 1 - 2-year-old culms with a relatively large diameter. They are planted horizontally at 10 cm depth. They should be planted immediately in a nursery or directly into the field in direct sunlight. Planting is preferably done at the beginning of the rainy season. After planting, mulch is distributed around the plant[
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.
].
Good results have also been obtained with 3-noded-cuttings from branches, up to 1.5 cm in diameter, from 1 - 2-year-old culms. Treated with 100 ppm IAA and planted in a sand bed, the cuttings could be potted when rooted (after about 20 days) and transplanted to the field after 2 - 3 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.
].

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