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Introduction to Bamboo

There are over one thousand species of bamboo, of some 50 genera. Some species of bamboo are the size of field grass others are giants 140 ft tall and 12 inches in diameter. Some grow in tropical climates and others in temperate climates.

Although bamboo varies widely in its color, shape and size, all of its varieties share one common characteristic, the woody "culm" or pole. A few are solid but most are hollow, divided by walled septa, or nodes.

Bamboo's either have have a Monopodial or a Sympodial rhizome structure. Monopodial bamboo species produce culms individually. Sympodial bamboo species produce culms in clumps. Bamboo plants produce new shoots each rain season. Each shoot reaches its full height in 3 or 4 months and then takes 3 years to mature into a culm that is ready for harvest.

Bamboo is grown as a cash crop throughout Asia - the large bamboo species produce more wood biomass per hectare per year than any other plant in the world.

Most bamboo species flower only once, at the end of their life span and then die. The flowering results in seed which then falls to the ground and germinates bringing about a new cycle of growth. Most species flower in cycles that range from 10 years to 120 years.

Man has created over a thousand uses for bamboo. Examples of just a few products are floorboard, paper, cloth and charcoal. It is estimated that over one billion people around the world use bamboo on a daily basis.

Introduction to Bamboo

by Dr. Radut.