Bheesa travancorica Bedd.
Often growing close to rivers, the plant can survive seasonal flooding and strong currents
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Ochlandra travancorica is a clump-forming, perennial bamboo with short rhizomes, producing erect culms 2 - 6 metres long. The woody culms are 25 - 50mm in diameter, the internodes terete, thin-walled, 45 - 60cm long, the culm-nodes swollen.
The canes are commonly harvested from the wild for use in making mats, baskets, handicrafts etc. The plant is sometimes cultivated as a soil binder and source of materials[
E. Asia - southern India.
An undergrowth plant in the low level evergreen and semi evergreen forests. Pure patches which grow as impenetrable thickets are also found along the sides of rivers and streams where other tree species are not allowed to come up[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. It requires a mean annual rainfall of more than 1500 mm[
Prefers a position in diffused light[
]. Requires good drainage for proper growth[
Seedling plants take 6 - 8 years to develop into full clumps, which then can last for a period of 25 years[
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[
The sprouting season for new culms is usually after pre-monsoon showers and during rainy season. The height growth of each culm is completed within two months. One year growth is sufficient for a culm to attain full size[
A comparative study for two years on growth of plants raised from seedlings and rooted cuttings showed 76 to 85% survival. Average 5 culms are produced from seedlings and 9 culms from the cuttings. The average height of culms in seedlings is found to be 93 cm and in cuttings 160 cm[
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. The plant flowers gregariously every 30 to 40 years, then dies down[
]. Another report says that it flowers every 7 years, but recorded dates of flowering are more random[
The plant is often grown along paddy fields, where it acts as a soil binder[
The soil under this species in general is dark brown, acidic, sandy loam with granular structure, high porosity, good aggregate stability and with high water holding capacity. A comparison of soil under O. Travancorica with other species from natural forests reveals that this species is very efficient for soil conservation[
The leaves are used for thatching[
The culms are in demand for making mats and baskets, umbrella handles, fishing rods, handicraft, and for making the walls of huts[
]. The mats made from reeds are used for making 'Bamboo ply'[
The culms are one of the most important sources of long-fibre raw material for paper pulp[
]. The shoots, when 6 to 9 months old, constitute a splendid paper material[
]. The fibre has been pronounced superior to esparto but the expense of chemicals required in the process make it uneconomic[
Seed - best sown as soon as they are ripe. They are sown in nursery beds filled with sand and soil mixture in partial shade initially for two months[
]. Seedlings can be transplanted into their permanent positions after a period of one year.
Rhizomes can be separated from the culms during the onset of the monsoon and used for field planting. Two-noded culm cuttings of two year old plants treated with NAA or coumarin by cavity method and planted horizontally in nursery beds during summer gives 50 per cent rooting[
]. After one year, the rooted cuttings can be transplanted to the field[
]. During field planting, many plantlets are obtained from the rooted cuttings by separating the sprouts along with the rhizome[
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