Babmboo Identification

Bob4916June 12, 2013

I was given this bamboo in a pot when it was only one or two thin shoots and it appeared dead. I was told it was Buddha Belly but I have my doubts. It's difficult to see in the picture but the new horizontal "branches" are much wider than my other bamboos. It seems to grow in a zig zag pattern and has thorn like spikes. I'll try to add a couple other pics. Any ideas what it may be?

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Second pic

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Third pic

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:42AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

It's not Buddha Belly.

There aren't many types of thorny bamboo. My best guess is that it is Bambusa bambos, a tropical/subtropical clumping bamboo used for making paper in India. It can get quite large (up to a 100 feet tall!). It is only hardy to about 30F...are you in a warm climate?

Take a look at the link below, which has pictures. Although you have a young plant, and many of the photos are of more mature plants, a couple of the photos show strong similarities. Tell me what you think.

You could also post these pictures on where the hardcore bamboo folks hang out.

Here is a link that might be useful: B. bambos

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Thanks for the information Kudzu and I think you nailed it. I found more pics of Bambusa bambos and believe that is what it is. Guess I can stop waiting for the belly's to form!

The more it grew the more suspicious I became. It's wirey and branches out as wide as it is tall. Definitely not the specimen I wanted for that location in the yard. I'll find a new home for it.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 2:45PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Thanks for the feedback. It's a very interesting bamboo, and not very common in the U.S. At this point it looks modest, but I think you are wise to relocate it given its ultimate size potential.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:35PM
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It looks more like my Bambusa sinospinosa then my B. bambos, by the size of the leaves. My bambos has larger leaves, and grows a bit more upright, and my sinospinosa grow a bit more wirey with small leaves. Also, the sino is more crooked growing and bambos has straighter culms.

However, the plant is small, so it could be either plant. B. sino is more cold hardy and has survived temps down into the teens here several times whereas my bambos freezes around 30F.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 8:40PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Do both of those bambusas have thorns on both the branches and at the culm nodes?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 9:57PM
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The sinospinosa does, but I'll have to check tomorrow on the bambos since I have it planted on a different property.

I can't walk past the sinos without getting cut. It is very wirey and many razor sharp thorns. I mowed around it Monday evening and a few minutes later, it looked like a cat got a hold of my arm.

I wasn't trying to over rule your choice of bambos, as it may still be bambos, but mine never has grown that wirey, but that could be partially because it gets freeze burn each Winter. I just wanted to state my observations on the bamboos that I have here, so I hope I didn't offend you.

There is a possibility that mine are mis-identified also, as this has happened to me on a few occasions before, and these bamboos came from respectable bamboo nurseries.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:00PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

No offense taken. The Zone I live in is not kind to most bambusas, and I am not an expert in this area. I was just guessing based on the little knowledge I have of thorny bamboos. I thought B. sinospinosa was also a possibility. I'm glad you weighed in, and look forward to what else you have to say on this.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:57PM
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This winter I was given 3 or 4 5 gallons pots of this unknown bamboo. It was very root bound so I devided and re-potted right away. Then this spring I noticed it was going to seed. This week I harvest the seed and the plants seem to be doing well still. They are putting up new shoots and still have some leaves on the old canes. I would love it if someone could help me ID this bamboo. And I am open to any advise on how to get these new seeds going.
Have more pics but I can't figure out how to post more than one pic.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 12:22AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

You should start your own thread as this has nothing to do with the original post requesting an ID on a different bamboo.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 2:17AM
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Hello Bob4916,

We call it Indian Thorny Bamboo. There are many sub species in the thorny variety. This is one among them. I am not sure of the botanical name but I know what it is called locally in Kerala.

As you mentioned zig zag pattern and it is clear in the image.

It is very rare to find this bamboo in India. Please don't destroy it(very rare). It can be used as a ladder because of the strong horizontal branches.

What you can do is when the bamboo becomes huge. Clear all the horizontal branches with in your reach; leaving around 5 inch of the horizontal branch on the bamboo. So it is easy for you to move around.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 1:02PM
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closeup of horizontal branches.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 1:56PM
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