Gigantochloa balui is a perennial, evergreen, clump-forming bamboo usually growing 10 - 12 metres tall. The thin-walled, erect, woody culms are 60 - 80mm in diameter with internodes 20 - 40cm long[
The plant is cultivated for food and as a source of materials in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Uncertain, but likely to be southeast Asia. The plant is found in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, but probably due to cultivation.
Not known in a truly wild situation
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The plant appears to grow best on rich alluvial sites, especially near rivers, and also establishes well in secondary forest[
The plant usually grows in tight clumps to the exclusion of most other plants. This is partly due to the accumulation of much siliceous leaf litter on the ground, which decays only slowly and prevents effective establishment of other plants[
In a trial plot in Sabah, Malaysia, eight years after planting from cuttings, the number of healthy mature culms per clump was estimated at 20 - 40[
Mature culms, 2 or more years old, are usually harvested, though in some areas one year old culms are preferred for basketry[
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[
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. 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 pattern can vary - sometimes flowering is sporadic, with plants flowering annually and not dying; at other times it is gregarious with all the plants in a specific species coming into flower at the same time.
In this species, flowering clumps are not commonly encountered, which is probably a major reason why the botanical identity of the plant eluded workers for a long time. However, when a clump does flower, most or all culms gradually become generative, and an entire flowering episode can last up to a whole year. One clump observed in Brunei Darussalam flowered during a period of 14 months - although all the culms died afterwards, the plantitself did not die but produced new growth from the rhizome system[
Young shoots - cooked[
]. Although the young shoots are edible, other species such as Gigantochloa levis and Dendrocalamus asper are generally preferred[
The culms have a wide range of uses. They are used whole in construction, to makes poles, fishing stakes, sailing masts and for framing etc. The culms are also split for making baskets, handicrafts etc. The culm internodes are used as containers for cooking meat and vegetables, and for making handicrafts[
Rhizome cuttings (offsets) and culm cuttings can be used quite effectively for propagation[
Culm cuttings taken from mature, but not senescent culms guarantees a high degree of success in producing new plants in 3 - 4 months, provided water is not limiting[
Rooted cuttings with several leafy branches can be planted out in the field, in holes into which manure and fertilizer have been put. Preliminary observations of a trial in Sandakan, Sabah, indicate that a distance of 4 - 6 metres between individual clumps facilitates optimum growth and minimizes weed problems[
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