Bamboo Facts



  • Bamboos are giant, fast-growing grasses with woody stems.
  • Most bamboos grow in east and southeast Asia and on islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
  • Bamboo stems are called culms. They often form dense thickets that exclude every other plant.
  • Bamboo culms can reach up to 40 m and grow very fast. Some bamboos grow 1 m every three days.
  • Most bamboos only flower every 12 years or so. Some flower only 30-60 years. Phyllostachys bambusoides flowers only after 120 years.
  • Pandas depend on the Phyllostachys bamboo, and after it flowers they lose their source of food.
  • The flowering of the muli bamboo around the Bay of Bengal every 30-35 years brings disaster as rats multiply to take advantage of the abundance of fruit.
  • The Chinese have used the hollow stems of bamboo to make flutes since before the Stone Age. The Australian aboriginals use them to make droning pipes called didgeridoos.
  • Bamboo is an incredibly light, strong material, and between 1904 and 1957 athletes used it for polevaulting. American Cornelius Warmerdam vaulted 4.77 m with a bamboo pole.
  • Bamboo has long been used to make paper. The Bamboo Annals, written on bamboo, are the oldest written Chinese records, dating from the 8th century BC.