Bambusa is a genus of bamboos with more than 100 species of tall, woody, perennial grasses (subfamily Bambusoideae of family Poaceae), native to tropical and subtropical Asia but now cultivated in tropical areas around the world. China has 67 endemic Bambusa species, mostly in the south and southwest, with an additional 13 species that are native but occur in a larger region (Flora of China 2011). Bamboo species in this and other genera in the Bambuseae have numerous uses as food, fiber, and construction material, worth over $2 billion in 2000 (Lobovikov 2007), and play an important role in Asian culture, history, and ritual.
Bambusa species are characterized by a prominent rhizome system, woody, branching culms (stems), and leaf blades with petioles (McClure 1966). They grow 2–35 meters tall (Watson 1992) and are a clumping (pachymorph) type, in which rhizomes develop new culms close to the parent plants (rather than the running, or leptomorph, type characteristic of the species with serious invasive potential, in which rhizomes can grow 9–10 meters (30 feet) per year, sending up new culms along the full length; Waynesword 2011).
Many Bambusa species have been cultivated for so long that there are few, if any, populations known in the wild. These species are cultivated for a large range of uses (Flora of China 2011, Watson and Dallwitz 1992): for construction, scaffolding, and building materials (B. arundinacea, B. dissemulator, B. duriuscula, B. gibba, B. lapidea, B. malingensis, B. pervariabilis, B. rigida, B. sinospinosa, B. tuldoides, and B. vulgaris); split and woven into mats and other goods (B. albolineata, B. chungii, B. lenta, and B. textilis); for fishing rods, ski poles and furniture (B. pervariabilis), and for pulp and fiber for paper and rayon (B. guadua, among others). Several species are cultivated for their edible shoots (B. gibboides, B. variostriata). A number of species are famous for their use as ornamentals (B. multiplex, B. ventricosa, and B. vulgaris); some are used for hedges and property markings (B. flexuosa, B. gibba, B. sinospinosa). Various of the species are used for medicinal purposes, including as a febrifuge (to lower fever) and anti-emetic (to stop vomiting) and to treat kidney troubles and hematuria (ISSG 2011, Ngoc and Borton 2007).
Due to their fast growth and clonal habit, bamboo species may become weedy or invasive, although the pachymorph types do not generally spread as rapidly as the leptomorph types. Some Bambusa species, such as B. vulgaris, are classified as invasive in various Pacific islands (including in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, the Philippines, and New Zealand), where they may colonize along streams and form dense monotypic stands despite their clumping habit (ISSG 2011, PIER 2011).
- Lobovikov, M., S. Paudel, M. Piazza, H. Ren, and J. Wu. 2007. World bamboo resources: A thematic study prepared in the framework of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 73 p.
- ISSG. 2011. Bambusa vulgaris. Global Invasive Species Database. Retrieved 8 November 2011 from http://www.issg.org/database/species/search.asp?sts=sss&st=sss&fr=1&sn=bambusa&rn=&hci=-1&ei=-1&lang=EN.
- Ngoc, H., and L. Borton, eds. 2006. Bamboo. Hanoi: Thê’ Gió’I Publishers. 88 p.
- PIER. 2011. Bambusa spp. US Forest Service, Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Online resource accessed 28 November 2011 at http://www.hear.org/pier/species/bambusa_spp.htm.
- Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The grass genera of the world: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval; including synonyms, morphology, anatomy, physiology, phytochemistry, cytology, classification, pathogens, world and local distribution, and references. Version: 23rd April 2010. Accessed 28 November 2011 at http://delta-intkey.com/grass/www/bambusa.htm.
- Waynesword. 2011. Bamboo: remarkable giant grasses. Retrieved 28 November 2011 from http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph39.htm.
- Wiltshire, Trea. 2004. Bamboo. Hong Kong: FormAsia Books. 183 p.
Localities documented in Tropicos sources
Argentina (South America)
Bolivia (South America)
Colombia (South America)
Costa Rica (Mesoamerica)
Ecuador (South America)
Brazil (South America)
Cameroon (Africa & Madagascar)
El Salvador (Mesoamerica)
French Guiana (South America)
Guyana (South America)
Peru (South America)
Paraguay (South America)
Uruguay (South America)
United States (North America)
Venezuela (South America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
- Forzza, R. C. & et al. 2010. 2010 Lista de espécies Flora do Brasil. http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/2010/. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100002289
- Soreng, R. J., G. Davidse, P. M. Peterson, F. O. Zuloaga, E. J. Judziewicz, T. S. Filgueiras & O. Morrone. 2003 and onwards. On-line taxonomic novelties and updates, distributional additions and corrections, and editorial changes since the four published volumes of the Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae) published in Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. vols. 39, 41, 46, and 48. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/CNWG:. In R. J. Soreng, G. Davidse, P. M. Peterson, F. O. Zuloaga, T. S. Filgueiras, E. J. Judziewicz & O. Morrone Internet Cat. New World Grasses. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1024044
- Sharp, D. & B. K. Simon. 2002. AusGrass: Grasses of Australia. CD-ROM, Version 1.0. CD–ROM. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1026312
- Zon, A. P. M. v. 1992. Graminées du Cameroun. Wageningen Agric. Univ. Pap. 92–1(2): 1–557. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1024162
- Soreng, R. J. 2000. Bambusa. In Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae): I. Subfamilies Anomochlooideae, Bambusoideae, Ehrhartoideae, and Pharoideae. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 39: 29–35. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1003711
- Morales, J. F. 2003. Poaceae. En: Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica. Vol. 3. B.E. Hammel, M.H. Grayum, C. Herrera & N. Zamora (eds.). Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 93: 598–821. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100008963
- USDA, NRCS. 2007. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100004579
Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Arthrinium dematiaceous anamorph of Apiospora montagnei is saprobic on dead stem of Bambusa
Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Arthrinium dematiaceous anamorph of Arthrinium phaeospermum is saprobic on dead leaf of Bambusa
Remarks: season: esp. 7-8
Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Schizopora paradoxa is saprobic on dead, decayed stem of Bambusa
Other: unusual host/prey
Evolution and Systematics
The stems of many plants may resist buckling by including transverse bulkheads that prevent ovalization.
"The condition of having one fixed end is of particular biological interest--it's the situation of long, slender plant stems such as those of dandelions, grass, bamboo, and others…As emphasized by Schulgasser and Witztum (1992), their anisotropy greatly increases the risk of buckling for plants that use thin-walled tubular construction. Mainly, the tubes, normally circular in cross section, go somewhat oval just prior to buckling, and that reduces the critical force. Preventing that ovalization may be one of the roles of the periodic transverse bulkheads so conspicuous in, for instance, bamboo." (Vogel 2003)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
- Schulgasser, K; Witztum, A. 1992. On the strength, stiffness, and stability of tubular plant stems and leaves. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 155: 497-515.
Fibers of bamboo and trees provide toughness by their simple structure of fiber-reinforced composites
"[I]t has been found that these natural biomaterials [bamboos and trees] have very reasonable structures which gives them many excellent properties, such as good carrying capacity, good toughness, self-healing, and so on. Furthermore, these biomaterials have very fine and special structures rather than complicated compositions...For example, trees and bamboos are typical long, fiber-reinforced composites. Their fibers have different sizes and arranged modes in structure so that they can display the optimal behaviors under tensile, bending, compressing stress and other applied load...So, the complicated and reasonable structure of natural biomaterials can give us an important insight into making better structure materials through biomimetic design." (Wang et al. 2000:9)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Wang, C.; Huang, Y.; Zan, Q.; Guo, H.; Cai, S. 2000. Biomimetic structure design—a possible approach to change the brittleness of ceramics in nature. Materials Science & Engineering C. 11(1): 9-12.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Locations of barcode samples
Statistics of barcoding coverage
|Specimen Records:||32||Public Records:||13|
|Specimens with Sequences:||26||Public Species:||11|
|Specimens with Barcodes:||25||Public BINs:||0|
|Species With Barcodes:||15|
Bambusa is a large genus of about 130 species of clumping bamboos. These species are usually giant ones, with numerous branches at a node and one or two much larger than the rest. They are found in tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, especially in the wet Tropics.
- Bambusa arnhemica
- Bambusa balcooa
- Bambusa bambos
- Bambusa blumeana
- Bambusa lako
- Bambusa longispiculata
- Bambusa oldhamii
- Bambusa tulda
- Bambusa ventricosa
- Bambusa vulgaris
- "Genus: Bambusa Schreb.". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/genus.pl?1263. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "Bambusa". The Plant List, RBG Kew. http://www.theplantlist.org/browse/A/Poaceae/Bambusa/. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
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