Vernacular names include: Fishpole bamboo, Fish-pole bamboo, Golden bamboo, Fairyland bamboo (Aust.), and Monk's belly bamboo.
Phyllostachys aurea is cultivated as an ornamental plant for gardens. It is the most commonly cultivated bamboo in the United States, where it can grow very aggressively in the warm climates of the southeastern U.S. and California.
Subspecies and cultivars include:
- Phyllostachys aurea 'Flavescens inversa' . Some lower culms may show a pale yellow stripe on the sulcus
- Phyllostachys aurea 'Holochrysa' . Also commonly called 'Golden Golden', culms turn yellow/gold sooner than the type form, random leaves have a yellow stripe
- Phyllostachys aurea 'Koi' . Culms turn yellow but sulcus stays green, random leaves have a yellow stripe
- Phyllostachys aurea 'Takemurai' . Culms grow taller and lack the compressed internodes of the type form
This bamboo is great for making bamboo pipes.
ID and growth habit
This bamboo can be difficult to identify as it has varied growth characteristics depending on location. In full shade the culms are apt to remain green. In partial or full sun the culms slowly turn yellow over the first year or two, then deeper gold and orange as they mature. The best way to identify this species are the compressed internodes that occur on random culms, usually (but not always) at the base. These compressed internode growths are called 'tortoise shell'. The leaves tend to grow all the way to the ground on this species, and the type form leaves are green and lack any stripes or streaks. They can grow short, dense and shrubby in poor conditions, or tall and upright. In ideal conditions they can grow to 30 feet tall and 3 inches in diameter. They can be rampant runners and grow aggressively if left unchecked in gardens. Golden Bamboo is listed as an invasive plant species in several states.