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All about bamboo. Little facts and lots of uses

Updated on January 9, 2012

Bamboo turns out to be a very versatile, strong, lightweight, and renewable green product.

It produces oxygen, production outstrips demand, and it has many uses. Read on for some interesting facts about bamboo, and some hints for its use -- some of which are rather surprising.

Clumping bamboo can be grown in the ground and it will not spread. Be sure to plant large species away from concrete pipes and other underground infrastructure as the root system can cause damage.

Running bamboo will spread but contrary to folklore, it's fairly easy to remove. Cut it and immediately apply a herbicide to the cut stump. The sap retreats, drawing the herbicide into the roots. This type of bamboo can be contained by limiting its root system using a container.

Small bamboo is also called Sasa. It is only knee-high.

Bamboo shoots are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and are very good, healthy food.

Bamboo scaffolding is safer than steel when it is constructed properly.
Bamboo scaffolding is safer than steel when it is constructed properly. | Source

Facts

  • There are about 500 species of this grass, and some have up to a hundred sub species -- that's something like 1500 in total.
  • Bamboo is native to every continent except Europe and Antarctica.
  • Bamboo can grow at a rate of nearly 2mm every hour.
  • Its density is 0.4 gm/cm^3
  • The tensile strength of bamboo is excellent. It suffers permanent distortion at about 142 MPa with a breaking point at 265MPa. Structural steel deforms at about 250MPa, and breaks at 400MPa
  • It starts to become woody when it reaches maximum height.
  • Some 6 to 8 years at maturity, its outer surface gains silica which makes it very hard.
  • The inside is softer than the outside which is more stable than typical wood which is softer on the outside than the inside.
  • Bamboo is very elastic which makes it a good building material in earthquake zones.
  • In Asia, bamboo is used for scaffolding - even for high rise buildings.
  • When bamboo breaks, it splits without immediately separating. This prevents catastrophic failure.
  • Bamboo forests are very good carbon sinks at a rate up to 12 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare.
  • Thomas Edison used carbonized bamboo as a filament the first light bulb.
  • Bamboo provided Alexander Graham Bell with a phonograph needle.
  • There are more than 5000 documented uses for bamboo.
  • Termites will not eat bamboo.

Bamboo Forest

Source
  • After the 1945 Hiroshima nuclear devastation, bamboo was the first regrowth.
  • Bamboo grows at sea level, and up to 3.7Km elevation.
  • It expires 35% more oxygen than an equivalent group of trees.
  • Harvesting bamboo does not kill it and a crop can be harvested every three to five years.
  • Bamboo's root system is like a net and hold soil together so it prevents erosion.

Uses

  • The pulp can be used for paper making.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Flooring.
  • Fabric.
  • Fishing rods.
  • Kitchen utensils.
  • Chairs.
  • Baskets.
  • Mats.
  • Fuel.
  • Wall panels.
  • Fencing.
  • Bridges.
  • Bamboo re-enforced concrete.
  • Bamboo shoots are edible.
  • Pulverised bamboo skins make an anti-bacterial dressing and food preservative.
  • Bamboo steamers are used for cooking.
  • Pandas and Elephants eat bamboo.
  • Bamboo has significant edible protein.

Comments

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    • Manna in the wild profile imageAUTHOR

      Manna in the wild 

      6 years ago from Australia

      @kj force: I have not heard that sound. Maybe one day?

      @Pcunix: Their house is "aesthetically challenged".

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 

      6 years ago from SE MA

      You need to hide from the neighbors, Manna? Are they Fundamentalists or Luddites?

      Or are you hiding hemp from the neighbors? :)

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I love the sound of the bamboo when the wind is strong..it is a very relaxing sound..so Zen...

      weedbychoice

    • Manna in the wild profile imageAUTHOR

      Manna in the wild 

      6 years ago from Australia

      @kschimmel yarn! Amazing isn't it? Another versatile and underrated product is hemp.

      Thank you all for your comments. It's greatly appreciated. I am thinking of putting some bamboo in the garden to hide the from the neighbours.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 

      6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      I love bamboo. Everyone told me not to plant it on my little ranch, but it is now 20 feet tall on the west side of the property and looks great. I started with 2 plants and now I have hundreds of stalks. I have a little bamboo forest!

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 

      6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I love my bamboo yarn!

    • MrMaranatha profile image

      MrMaranatha 

      6 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      That was interesting... I have thought of using Bamboo for some stuff but it is not so easy to find where I am at...

      Bamboo also makes a great floor mat for the Bathroom and shower area... Split pieces that are about an inch wide bound together sitting on their sides to form a large mat... It keeps your feet out of the water so that you can dry off without your feet feeling "Slick" from the soap scum etc...

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 

      6 years ago from SE MA

      And I use bamboo sticks as stakes for my tomato plants.. :)

    • mathira profile image

      mathira 

      6 years ago from chennai

      Your hub made interesting reading and it is amazing that you had so much of information about bamboos.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 

      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi M in the W: Excellent eye-opener on one of my favorite life-forms ever; sad we don't see it in Europe. I used it a bit in Mexico but it was thin on the ground in the part I was in (too dry for it...Baja).

      I would love to have a house made of bamboo.

      Bob

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