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Useful Tropical Plants

Yushania alpina

(K.Schum.) W.C.Lin

Poaceae


This name is not universally accepted. We are following the treatment in the 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families', but some other treatments, including the African Plant Database[
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
], treat this species as Sinarundinaria alpina (K.Schum.) C.S.Chao & Renvoize, which is treated here as a synonym[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Arundinaria alpina K.Schum.

Arundinaria fischeri K.Schum.

Arundinaria tolange K.Schum.

Oxytenanthera ruwensorensis Chiov.

Sinarundinaria alpina (K.Schum.) C.S.Chao & Renvoize

Common Name: African Alpine Bamboo

No Image.

General Information

African alpine bamboo is an evergreen, clump-forming bamboo with erect culms that are usually not closely clustered and can be up to 20 metres tall; growing from a short rhizome that is up to 10cm thick. The culms, which are up to 12.5 cm in diameter, are yellowish at maturity, hollow, thick-walled, many-noded and profusely branched[
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.
].
African alpine bamboo has a wide range of uses and is commonly harvested from the wild. It is of high local importance throughout its range, and in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda there is a consistent small supply of bamboo material and products being sent to markets that are remote from the source areas. The plant is frequently cultivated for its stems[
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.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Tropical Africa - Cameroon, DR Congo, Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi.

Habitat

Restricted to high elevations from 2,000 - 4,000 metres, this species is the characteristic and definitive dominant of Afromontane bamboo vegetation. It also occurs in abandoned fields and can form extensive pure stands[
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Bamboo
Height20.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of high elevations in the tropics, where it can be found at elevations from 2,000 - 4,000 metres. It is found in areas with cool growing conditions, with average annual temperatures in the range of 14 - 17°c; with an average monthly maximum temperatures are 13 - 32°c; and average monthly minimum temperatures that range from -4°c to 11°c, implying that some populations tolerate frost. Rainfall is seasonal, with 3 - 6 dry months (where the mean rainfall is less than 50mm) in eastern Africa, but only 2 dry months in Cameroon. Annual rainfall totals vary from 800mm in Tanzania to 2,000mm in Ethiopia and 3,000mm in Cameroon[
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.
].
The climate requirements of the plant over-ride its soil type requirements, it being found growing on impoverished ferralsols, moderately fertile cambisols, and richer andosols and nitisols. Well-drained humus-rich soil on gentle slopes and in ravines, with space for vigorous rhizome development, allows luxuriant growth, whilst on shallow soils and rocky ground individuals are stunted[
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.
].
Afromontane bamboo forest has been described as a climax formation, but burnt forest tree stumps within Sinarundinaria alpina stands have been interpreted as evidence of a fire-induced community. Another view treats the species as a light-demanding pioneer forming populations maintained by large herbivore activity[
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.
].
Although nursery seedlings have been raised in Kenya, there is no published description of the germination and initial growth of African alpine bamboo. Small plants, consisting entirely of new shoots, form loose, but discrete, clumps. With time, stems at the centre die and disappear, while new stems are added at the periphery. Repeated exposure to fire causes mortality of young peripheral rhizomes and concentration of new shoots close to older ones, maintaining relatively compact clumps[
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.
].
Rhizome networks producing new stems annually may survive for at least 40 years, but individual stems survive only 8 - 14 years[
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.
].
New stem production is a seasonal process, allowing cohorts of stems in different age classes to be recognized[
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.
].
A year of vigorous stem production may be followed by a 2 - 3 year period of low stem production. Unusual droughts also reduce production in the subsequent growing season[
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.
].
The annual growth cycle involves the development of new stems at rhizome apices where growth is activated when the rainy season starts. New stems reach full height in 2 - 4 months and form branches in the following year. By the fourth year of growth the stems are glabrous and sufficiently rigid for use as poles[
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.
].
Estimates of the interval between flowering events vary from 15 years (Mount Elgon, Kenya) to 40 years (Aberdares Range, Kenya). Flowering may be synchronous in patches several hectares in extent within a population[
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.
].
It is generally assumed that plants die after flowering, although development of new shoots from parts of the rhizome network surviving after flowering has been noted in Kenya[
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.
].
Natural stands of African alpine bamboo can be clear-felled but recovery is slow, development of full-sized stems taking 9 - 10 years[
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.
].
Stems must be full-sized and at least 3 years old before they can be exploited for structural use, and numbers must accumulate to levels making harvesting worthwhile, so felling cycles of 14 - 21 years have been recommended. This cycle can be reduced to 5 - 6 years on good sites if modest yields are acceptable and 50% of the mature stems are retained[
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.
].
Harvesting of stems under 2 years old suitable for weaving, and harvesting of edible shoots as vegetable are rainy season activities[
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.
].
The dry weight of a standing crop of stems of well-stocked stands in Masha, Ethiopia has been estimated at 51 tonnes per hectare, and in Kenya at 97 tonnes. With a 5-year cutting cycle exploiting only mature stems, representing 20% of the number of stems present, a potential yield of 10 tonnes per hectare per year has been estimated for Ethiopia. Better management might raise this to 15 tonnes per year[
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 shoots are marketed as a vegetable[
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 shoots are sun-dried or smoked and can be stored for up to 2 years[
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

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is valued in soil conservation as a more effective watershed cover than trees[
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.
].

Other Uses

The stems have a wide range of applications. The whole stems are used for hut construction, particularly as rafters, and for fencing - in some areas entire villages are constructed using this bamboo. The stems are also used as water pipes - in the 1980's bamboo water pipes supplied water to around 100,000 people[
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.
]. Dried stems used in construction and fencing are susceptible to infestation by the powder-post beetle Dinoderus minutus. Nevertheless, the stems are considered durable and houses and fences made from them in DR Congo are said to last for more than 20 years[
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.
].
The split stems also have a range of uses, for purposes such as making furniture, weaving into storage pots, baskets and beehives[
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.
].
The stems give reasonable yields of readily bleached pulp suitable for producing writing and printing paper[
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.
].
The dry stems are used as fuel[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed - aAttempts to germinate the seed from the few seed crops occurring are not always successful, but in Kenya seeds sown in nursery beds and watered daily have germinated[
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.
]. Bamboo seeds in general can often be germinated by sowing the seed in a good compost in containers as soon as it is ripe; only just covering the seed with compost; watering it in well but being careful not to wash the seed away; and then placing the container in a lightly shaded position[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. When the seedlings are 2 - 3 cm tall they can be transferred to individual containers and can then be planted out 8 - 12 months later[
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.
]. A stand with stems up to 12 metres tall and 5 cm in diameter has resulted after 6 years[
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.
].
In parts of Ethiopia and Uganda offsets are often planted. In experiments in Kenya, there has been successful use of offsets (single stems shortened to 60 cm, with attached rhizome), clump division (groups of 5 stems shortened to 60 cm, with the parent rhizome) and 20 cm lengths of rhizome. Offsets with stems produced in the previous growing season are preferred. Stem cuttings have not produced shoots, not even after treatment with rooting compounds[
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.
].

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