My interest in Bambusa Nutans and Dendrocalamus Strictus has been as a result of my quest for solid (not hollow) bamboos. I am very fascinated by this species of grass-which grows faster than any other hardwood species and has a better wood-fiber  quality, in some parameters, matching steel. But alas! Most bamboos are hollow, thereby limiting its spectrum of applications.

Having travelled and communicated with many institutions, organizations, scientists, growers and traders across India, I was, till recently, given to believe that the only genotype devoid of an inter-nodal cavity (solid, not hollow) is D. Strictus. Unfortunately, this species has many limitations- its stunted growth, small diameter and low yield, to cite a few. From a farmer's perspective, yield and per acre economics is an important consideration. During the course of this exchange of information, I learnt about  B. Nutans, another thick walled species (with an inter-nodal cavity), with much higher bio-mass production (wood), growing to about 15 m- about twice as high as D. Strictus.

I was still in a dilemma. A bamboo without an inter-nodal cavity, was still a mirage.

Imagine my surprise, when I accidentally discovered a few culms of B. Nutans, WITHOUT ANY INTERNODAL CAVITY - in a neglected corner of my farm, right under my bonnet !!!!! Wow !!! B. Nutans that is that are fully solid- with an excellent growth rate and straight bamboo culms. When I spoke to my father, he casually mentioned that he came across this rare bamboo, many years ago, on one of his travels. He further mentioned that he brought back a few root cuttings and planted them on the periphery, and subsequently forgot about !!!

I am now in the process of developing a nursery for this particular stain of B. Nutans. I plan to establish a small bamboo plantation. A legacy my father started.

Bambusa Nutans, bamboo species is cultivated/naturalized in the Northern, Central and Eastern parts of India, occurring naturally in tropical India and Indo-China in the sub-Himalayan tracts, between 600 to 1500m altitude. It requires well drained sandy loams with tropical / sub tropical climate.

b_nutansbambusa nutans2

Local/Indigenous Indian names-

  • In Arunachal Pradesh it is called Mokal / Mallo / Kali
  • In Assam it is called  Deobanh / Jatie makal
  • In manipur- it is called  Utang
  • In Sikkim, it is called Mal Bans
  • In Nagaland it is called Rungazumi
  • In Orissa it is called Badi.

Agro- Forestry Uses- Nutans is used as shade for Tea.

Other Uses- Mainly as poles, and  as a source of Fibre for the paper mills.

Propagation
Primarily  root and stem cuttings

HABIT - Nutans is a Perennial bamboo. Rhizomes are short; pachymorph. Culms are erect; 6 to 12 metres long; 4 to 7 cm in diameter, woody; with some aerial roots at the nodes. Culm-internodes are about 12 to 18 inches, are terete; with relatively small lumen and mid-green to shiny green in colour. Culm-nodes are glabrous, or pubescent. Lateral branches are dendroid. Culm-sheaths are about 6 to 12 inches long; pubescent; with appressed hair or/and black hair, which truncate at apex and auriculate; setose on shoulders. Culm-sheath is ligule 2.5–5 mm high and dentate. Culm-sheath blade is triangular; 6 to 12 inches long; pubescent; acute. Leaves are cauline. Leaf-sheaths are striately veined and pubescent. Leaf-sheath oral hair are setose. Leaf-sheath auricles are falcate. Ligule, an eciliate membrane is obtuse. Collar has an external ligule. Leaf-blade base has a brief petiole-like connection to sheath; petiole is about 0.3–0.5 cm long. Leaf-blades are lanceolate; glandular. Leaf-blade midrib conspicuous. Leaf-blade venation with 14–20 secondary veins. Leaf-blade surface glabrous, or puberulous; hairy abaxially. Leaf-blade margins scabrous. Leaf-blade apex acuminate; antrorsely scabrous.
INFLORESCENCE Synflorescence bractiferous; clustered at the nodes; in untidy tufts; with spathaceous subtending bracts; with axillary buds at base of spikelet; prophyllate below lateral spikelets.
FERTILE SPIKELETS Spikelets comprising 3–5 fertile florets; with diminished florets at the apex. Spikelets lanceolate; subterete; 17–25 mm long; breaking up at maturity; disarticulating below each fertile floret. Rhachilla internodes definite; clavate; pilose; hairy at tip.
GLUMES Glumes several; 2–3 empty glumes.
FLORETS Fertile lemma ovate; 10 mm long; without keel. Lemma inner surface pubescent. Lemma apex acute; mucronate. Palea keels ciliate. Apical sterile florets resembling fertile though underdeveloped.
FLOWER Lodicules 3; membranous; veined; ciliate. Anthers 6–7; anther tip apiculate. Stigmas 2–3; sparsely hairy. Ovary umbonate; pubescent on apex.
FRUIT Caryopsis with adherent pericarp; oblong; hairy at apex.
DISTRIBUTION Asia-tropical: India and Indo-China.

References

http://www.kew.org/data/grasses-db/www/imp01287.htm