Interesting Facts About Evergreen Bamboos
Bamboos are tall, fast-growing grasses that have woody stems. Bamboos grow in diverse climates, from cold mountains to hot tropical regions. They are found in the tropical, subtropical and mild temperate regions.
Bamboos belong to the Poaceae family – the grass family and subfamily Bambusoideae. Argentina, Chile, Mid-Atlantic United States, Northern Australia, and India are countries where bamboo grows in abundance.
Description of the Bamboo
Bamboo has dwarf and tall varieties. The dwarf varieties grow up to 1 - 2 feet in height and the tall varieties grow up to a height of 100 feet. Bamboos grow well in fertile well-drained soil. They need a lot of sunlight but can grow in mildly shaded areas.
Bamboos can be divided into two groups – the running variety and the clumping variety. The running variety spread out everywhere and grow profusely. The clumping variety grows in a group in one place.
Bamboos grow from an underground stem called the rhizome. The hollow woody stems of bamboo are called culms. They form thick, dense clusters. When the bamboo stem matures and stops growing in height, it produces horizontal branches. The leaves grow from these horizontal branches. When the conditions are dry, and there is no moisture to absorb, the leaves of the Bamboo tree roll-up.
Most bamboos produce flowers and seeds only after 12 – 120 years of growth, once in their lifetime.
There are many varieties of Bamboo. To name a few - Bambusa chungi, Bambusa ventricosa, Bambusa vulgaris, Bambusa textilis.
Uses of Bamboos
1. Bamboos are used for cooking purposes by people in China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and other places through Southeast Asia. Bamboo seeds are eaten as a grain, young shoots of bamboo are cooked and eaten as vegetables. The raw leaves are used as fodder for cattle.
2 The stems of the bamboo are split and used to make buckets, pipes furniture, walking sticks, fishing poles, and other utensils.
3 The large stems of bamboos are used in building houses and rafts. The small and large size stems are bound together to build scaffoldings.
4 The fine-grained silica that is produced in the joints of the bamboo stems is used in medicines in China and India.
5 The pulp of bamboos is used to make a fine quality paper.
6 Bamboo fibers are used to make fabrics as they are breathable and highly absorbent.
7 Bamboo can be grown indoors and are used for decorative purposes on patios or decks.
8 It is used as a weapon in several East Asian and South Asian Martial Arts.
9 Bamboo is used to make musical instruments – panpipes, clarinets, tubas, guitars, ukuleles, flutes, split drums, etc.
10 Bamboo is considered to be a lucky symbol and is supposed to bring good fortune. It is the favorite food of the Panda Bear. Panda Bears can eat about 20 kg of stems, shoots, and leaves each day.
11 Bamboo is an important tree in several Asian countries, mostly in China. Bamboo is considered as one of the “Four Nobel Ones”. The “Four Nobel Ones” is a collection of four plants – Orchid, Plum blossom, Chrysanthemum, and Bamboo. The four plants are used to represent Confucius’s idea of junzi or gentleman (The Four Gentlemen in Chinese Art dates as far back as the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD).
Amazing facts about Bamboos
- There are some 1500 different species that are native to every continent except Europe.
- Bamboo is the fastest growing planet on earth. It has been recorded to be growing at 47inches in a 24 hour period.
- Bamboo plays a very important role in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A grove of Bamboo releases 35 % more oxygen than any other grove with the same number of trees. Planting a Bamboo is an excellent way to “Go Green” and help fight Global Warming.
- Bamboo is antibacterial. Bamboo contains a natural bio-agent known as the Bamboo Kun. This Bamboo Kun is naturally anti-bacterial and prevents 70% of bacteria that attempts to grow on it. Due to this, Bamboos do not need any chemical fertilizers for healthy growth.
- Bamboos prevent soil erosion when planted in areas that are subjected to heavy rainfall and floods.
- Bamboos can be used in reforestation because of their fast growing tendency. After forest fires, Bamboo shoots are the first to re-appear.
- Bamboo was the first plant to grow again after the atomic blast in Hiroshima in 1945.
© 2012 Nithya Venkat