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Useful Tropical Plants

Dendrocalamus asper

(Schult.) Backer

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Arundarbor bitung (Schult.) Kuntze

Arundo aspera (Schult.f.) Oken

Arundo piscatoria Lour.

Bambusa aspera Schult.

Bambusa bitung Schult.f

Bambusa flagellifera Griff. ex Munro

Calamagrostis piscatorial (Lour.) Steud.

Dendrocalamus flagellifer Munro

Gigantochloa aspera (Schult.) Kurz

Schizostachyum bitung (Schult.) Steud.

Schizostachyum loriforme Munro

Sinocalamus flagellifer T.Q.Nguyen

Common Name: Giant Bamboo

Dendrocalamus asper
Growing plant
Photograph by: François Guibert
Creative Commons License
Dendrocalamus asper Dendrocalamus asper Dendrocalamus asper Dendrocalamus asper Dendrocalamus asper Dendrocalamus asper Dendrocalamus asper Dendrocalamus asper

General Information

Giant bamboo is an evergreen, clumping bamboo with a short, thick rhizome and densely tufted, erect stems that can be 15 - 30 metres tall. The stems can be 8 - 20cm in diameter, producing aerial roots from the nodes, and with internodes 40 - 50cm long[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
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 widely cultivated, especially in tropical Asia, for its stems which are considered by many to be the best of all the edible tropical Asiatic bamboos; they also have a wide range of other uses. In the areas where the culms are highly valued for building material, the shoots are rarely collected as a vegetable. On the other hand, where the culm is not much used, this bamboo is planted solely for its shoots[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
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.
].

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.
,
992
Title
The Gardens' Bulletin Vol. 16
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/Default.aspx
Publisher
The Botanic Gardens; Singapore
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical journal - this issue includes a treatment of the Bamboos in Malaya and the Myristicaceae in Malaya. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

Africa - Madagascar; Southeast Asia - China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia.

Habitat

Not known in a truly wild situation

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Bamboo
Height15.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of moist areas in the tropics and subtropics, where it can be found from low elevations up to 1,500 metres, though it grows best at an elevation of 400 - 500 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.
,
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 grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 27°c, but can tolerate 15 - 34°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 1,800 - 3,600mm, but tolerates 1,200 - 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.
].
Succeeds in any type of soil of at least moderate fertility, though it grows better on heavy soils with good drainage[
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.
]. In Thailand, according to local farmers, the plant will grow well on sandy and rather acidic 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.
]. 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.
].
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.
].
Initially, a young plant raised from a lateral branch cutting will produce small shoots which will develop into small 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.
]. As the plant grows older, so the culms produced each year increase in size and quantity until full-size culms appear five or six years after planting[
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.
]. A mature clump may attain a diameter of 3 metres or more and contains about 60 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.
].
A culm becomes mature when 3 - 4 years old[
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.
]. A good healthy clump can produce several shoots annually[
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.
].
Yields of 10 - 11 tonnes per hectare of bamboo shoots have been reported from Thailand[
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.
].
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. This species usually flowers when around 100 - 120 years old[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

Young stems - cooked[
992
Title
The Gardens' Bulletin Vol. 16
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/Default.aspx
Publisher
The Botanic Gardens; Singapore
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical journal - this issue includes a treatment of the Bamboos in Malaya and the Myristicaceae in Malaya. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Free of bitterness[
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.
]. Harvested before they emerge from the soil, they are tender and sweet[
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.
,
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 used as a vegetable, pickled or preserved[
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 can be cut into strips and used as a substitute for macaroni in soups[
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 edible portion of young shoots is about 34%; they weigh on average 5.4 kilos before peeling and 1.8 kilos after peeling[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The upper internodes of the culm, which are longer than the lowermost ones, are used as containers for water or to collect juice being tapped from palm inflorescences[
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 internodes of this and other bamboo species are also used as ready-made cooking pots in the field[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
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 internode is opened at one end (or the node) and filled with vegetables, meat or rice, and water, and is then covered and placed on a fire[
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 culms have thick walls and are very strong and durable. They are used as building material for houses and bridges, for making furniture, boards, musical instruments, household utensils, crafts, outriggers of fishing boats and for paper making[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
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.
,
992
Title
The Gardens' Bulletin Vol. 16
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/Default.aspx
Publisher
The Botanic Gardens; Singapore
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical journal - this issue includes a treatment of the Bamboos in Malaya and the Myristicaceae in Malaya. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Harvesting may start 3 - 4 years after a clump has begun to produce culms of maximum size. Only culms older than 3 years are harvestable and harvesting should never be done during the growing season. It is recommended to cut the culms lower than 30cm above the ground level, but not below the 2nd node. Debris and cut branches should always be removed completely[
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 - many, if not all, members of this genus have a short viability and should be sown within 2 - 3 months of harvest. Sow in containers in a lightly shaded position and only just cover. Germination usually takes place readily. Prick out into individual pots as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Plant out into permanent positions when 20cm tall. Plants may remain in their low-growing juvenile state for several years - cutting the culms to the ground level can stimulate taller adult growth[
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.
].
Rhizome, culm and branch cuttings[
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 propagules are raised in the nursery and after they have produced roots they are planted out in the field before or during the first half of the rainy season[
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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