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Bambou géant (Dendrocalamus asper) © MNHN - Agnès Iatzoura
Bambou géant (Dendrocalamus asper) © MNHN - Agnès Iatzoura

Giant bamboo

Giant bamboo is one of the largest bamboos in the plant kingdom, with a height of 15 m to 30 m and stems that are 8 cm to 20 cm in diameter. It is native to south-east Asia. Young shoots are eaten as a vegetable.

Identity Card

Common name
Giant bamboo, dragon bamboo
Binominal name
Dendrocalamus asper (Schult.) Backer

Taxonomy

Kingdom
Plantae
Family
Poaceae
Synonyms
Bambusa aspera Schult.f.

Detailed Informations

Area of origin
Malaysia, South-East Asia

Etymology

Dendrocalamus comes from ‘Dendron’ meaning tree in Greek and ‘Calamus’ meaning reed. Asper means rough, rugged in Latin.

Description and flowering period

This bamboo species can reach between 15 and 30 meters in height, with culms reaching 8 to 20cm in diameter. The culms are greyish-green at first and later turn dull brown upon drying. The culms walls are generally 11 to 20mm thick (although thinner are the top). The stem is characterised by hollow internodes (20 to 60cm long) separated by slightly swollen nodes. Short golden hairs cover the lower nodes of young shoots. The leaves are long, thin and spearhead-shaped (30cm long and 2.5cm wide). Flowering – and thus seed production – only occurs once every 60 to 100 years. It is a densely clumping bamboo species, which slowly spreads via its short underground rhizomes.

Habitat

It is suitable for any type of soil providing it is free draining but requires a tropical or subtropical climate. Hardy to -4°C, it appreciates moist locations.

Uses

  • Ornamental.
  • Food & drink: Young culms are very sweet and prepared as vegetables.
  • Craftsmanship: The culms are used as building material (for buildings, bridges…) and turned into many objects such as musical instruments, tableware, dishes and pots.

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