Posts Tagged Bambusa

Bamboo as a Crop

Off-late, BAMBOO (Gramineae (Poaceae), subfamily Bambusoideae) has stolen my interest, and I have been collecting commercially viable genotypes. I came across this interesting genotype of Bambusa Balcooa, with almost non-existent inter-nodal cavity ( in the lower 60% of the bamboo- which gradually increased to about 2 to 3 cm in the upper third) . I plan to propagate this particular bamboo for its possible use as a substitute to hardwood for our handicrafts. 

Bamboos are giant woody grasses, with about 1300 species in approx 180 genera. B
ambusoideae are distributed in tropics.

Bamboo plants, usually perennial, consist
of an underground root system and rhizome mat from which culms grow. These (culms) are usually hollow, primarily made of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Diameter of up to 20cm or more has been seen in some species, with a height of 10–40m, which is achieved in about 3–4 months.

Bamboo has long fibre- 1.5 to 3.2mm in length, comprise 60–70 per cent of the culm’s weight, thus a desirable raw material for paper production. Bamboo provides a high biomass yield, is strong and its calorific value is comparable to wood.

Bamboos can be-sympodial or monopodial. The flowering cycle can be anywhere from 15 to 120 years.

Ecological requirements
Most species need warm and humid climates. There are drought-resistant strains, such as Dendrocalamus strictus which can survive on a minimum of 750–1000mm annual precipitation.

Bamboos prefer light, well-drained sandy loams, with abundant organic matter. The optimal soil pH range is between 5 and 6.5.

Conventional propagation is done by: seeds or by vegetative methods (
the planting of offsets, culm cuttings or branch cuttings).

Crop management
Planting density tests of Dendrocalamus strictus in India suggest that the high density populations, something like sugarcane, could yield as much as 27t of biomass/ha- measured over 18- month period.

Fertilization- has been shown to lead to an increased number and weight of rhizomes. A nitrogen-rich, fast-release compound fertilizer should be used in the spring, a month before sprouting. Studies in China have concluded that for every 1000kg of bamboo vegetable matter produced, 2.7kg of nitrogen, 3.6kg of potassium and 0.36kg of phosphorus must be added to the soil.
Suggested fertilizer levels for bamboo resulting from tests in India

Fertilizer Amount (kg/ha)
Nitrogen (N)-  100 (kg/ha)
Potassium-  (as K2O) 50 (kg/ha)
Phosphorus - (as P2O5) 50 (kg/ha)

Production, Processing and utilization
Bamboo is harvested manually with knives.

It was previously believed that clear felling was harmful to bamboo stands, but tests in India have shown that clear felling of the stand led to vigorous growth.

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Bambusa Balcooa

One of the species that I have collected in my bambusetum/bambusarium is Bambusa Balcooa, aka Female Bamboo. It is a tropical clumping species of bamboo. It is found in N.E India, Tarai area of Uttar Pradesh etc. Some of the clones are very thick walled.

This bamboo species is often used in scaffolding, for paper pulp or wood chips. It is a popular building material for houses and bridges and on a lesser scale, used for baskets, mats, roofing. Young shoots are eaten and leaves are used as fodder.

The culms of Bambusa Balcooa are about 12-22 m in height, and about 6-15 cm in dia, thick walled ( the cavity is about 30% of the culm). Nodes are thickened with a whitish ring above, and have short small hair below. Internodes are about 20-40 cm long.

Shoots are blackish/green yellow in color. Culm sheaths are brown, sometimes with dark brown hair.

Branches: Several Branches occur from middle of the culm to the top. Branches from the lower nodes are leafless and hard, and sometimes thorn-like.

Leaves: Leaves are narrow and are on average 15-30 cm long and 25-50 mm broad.

Seeds: Gregarious flowering every 35-45 years.

Habitat: Bambusa balcooa grows in tropical monsoon climates.

Mechanical properties: The compressive strength ranges from 39.4 to 50.6 N/mm2 in green and 51.0 to 57.3 N/mm2 in air dry condition. Modulus of rupture varied between 85.0-62.4 N/mm2 in green and 92.6-69.6 N/mm2 in air dry condition. Modulus of elasticity 7.2-10.3 kN/mm2 in green, 9.3-12.7 kN/mm2 in air dry condition (Kabir et al. 1991).


Malay, D,Bhattacharya, S, Singh, P, Filgueiras, T S, Pal, A. 2008. Bamboo Taxonomy & Diversity in the Era of Molecular Markers. Advances in Botanical Research 47: 225 – 268.
Guadua Bamboo Costa Rica:\

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Bambusa Tulda

Bambusa Tulda ( Also called Jati, Makor, Makol, Mirtinga, Wati, Owati, Koraincho, Longmeli, Rawthang, Mritanga etc.) is one of the most important species of bamboo.

Bamboo is called the poor man’s timber and India is one of its largest habitats. It is a fast growing species. Ironically classified as a NON TIMBER FOREST PRODUCT, its wood quality is better than any of the hardwoods. It matures in a short period of 3 years, thus also called GREEN GOLD.

I surveyed the viability of including Bambusa Tulda as an agro-forestry crop for Tarai Area to cater to my requirement of a suitable raw material for handicraft industry. Unfortunately, I found it too hollow and its diameter too little to cater to my requirement, and thus I have shelved the idea.

Nevertheless, as a matter of record, I am enlisting certain pertinent findings from what I read and saw.

Bambusa Tulda naturally occurs in parts of N.E India and naturalized in Iraq, Puerto Rico, and parts of South America. It is a tall tropical bamboo, with a long period of vegetative growth. Culms are about 17 to 22 m high, dia about 3 to 6 cm ( 1 to 2 inches),  usually straight, bright to dark green, with streaks of yellow. Wall thickness is around 0.5 to 1.5 cm. It grows well in moist hilly tracts of N.E India and has its applications in basketry and woven handicrafts. It is a good raw material for paper industry.

As per Wikipedia

Young culms are green, which turn greyish green on maturity. Young shoots are greenish-yellow, with a powdery top. Culms are covered with white blooms. A band of white hairs occurs above the nodes. Branching occurs from the base to top. Aerial roots reach up to few nodes above.
Culm sheaths are triangular with a conical blade, and straw-colored. The sheath proper is asymmetrical and 15-32 cm in length and 25-34 cm wide. Blade length is 5-10 cm. Auricles are unequal where the large one is rounded and situated on the side of the blade. The upper surface of the sheath is covered with blackish-brown hairs. The lower surface of the sheath is not hairy. Sheaths fall off early

Other Sources-

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