Need Help Identifying Bamboo/Cane

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)June 12, 2010

I saw a southern pearly eye butterfly late yesterday evening, and being a butterfly nut/raiser, I'd like to plant some host plants for them - I've read that these butterflies are rare now, because their host plant, Arundinaria gigantea, is mostly gone, the land it used to grow on now being used for agriculture.

I've got a book with a good picture of Arundinaria gigantea in it. When I saw the picture, it looked just like what I thought was big grass down the road from me by a creek. So I drove down there, and at first, all I saw was plants growing between other plants, none very big -

But then down the road just a little bit, I found some closer to the road with more room that was bigger, looking like small bamboo -

I then drove about ?1/2 mile north to an area that contained a small patch of bamboo when we first moved here in 1997. It has since spread to cover several acres - I coudn't begin to get it all in my camera -

The area where this bamboo/cane grows is dryer than the area down the road where I found what must be native cane, so I figured it must be some Asian bamboo that somebody planted that's gotten way out of control. But then you look at a close-up picture of the new growth at the bottom, and it looks a lot like the native cane -

The new growth in the "cane forest" is more yellow green as opposed to blue green of the native cane, but, of course, that might have to do with the dryer growing conditions. My plan is to dig up some small plants of the cane that grows down the road that I'm sure must be native, but I sure hope it doesn't take over my whole woods like the bamboo/cane in the last two pictures!

Can anybody help me to ID both types of bamboo/cane? Also, does native cane spread out of control? I saw it growing among other plants, like ferns, viburnum, leucothoe, swamp azaleas, etc. in every low, wet spot on the way to the "cane forest" and even in some spots that didn't look to be too wet - none looked too big or dense.

I live in a rural area on 5 1/2 acres of mostly wooded property, with woods, pecan orchards and pastures all around here.



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The first bamboo looks like Arundinaria gigantea and the second one looks like Phyllostachys aurea.

That's just my opinion from the bamboo that I grow and from bamboo that is common in your area.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 10:21PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks, kt!
Here and there were some small shoots of the A. gigantea growing far enough away from the closest plant, that it looks like I could safely dig it up. I'd like to then plant the small plants in containers that I'd keep in my garden, so I could tend to them until their roots recover and regrow, then plant them out later, maybe in the fall.
But I've never grown, much less dug up, any cane/bamboo.
Do you think this is a good way to keep it alive and healthy and eventually growing on my property?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 11:05PM
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Yes, that is a great way to care for the plant until you can put it in the ground.

If you get enough rootball though, you can plant them in the ground as soon as you dig them up, as long as you don't let the plant dry out while moving it, and also keep it watered well after transplanting.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 3:01PM
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Make sure that the culms that you dig have leaves and branches. If they are new shoots from this year, they may not be ready for digging yet.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:20AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS) would it be better to wait until fall to dig them up?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 7:03PM
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No, you can dig them now, I think what alan_1 meant was that you need to dig an older culm, or one that has hardened off, and not a shoot that is still growing.

A new shoot can be difficult if almost impossible to keep alive unless you have a very large rootball to go with it.

Older culms are tougher and easier to keep alive during transplanting.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:49PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Okay, will do.
I've driven around in my area checking out the growth habit of A. gigantea enough that I'm convinced the native cane won't get out of control here. I plan on planting in the bottom of the hollow, where it's wet and mostly shady - it grows well in the shade here, even in somewhat dryer spots. Its growth seems to be limited by good drainage and/or too much sunlight, so I don't think it'll grow very far up the sides of the hollow.
I sure hope I get some southern pearly eye caterpillars to raise!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:56PM
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It grows along my creek here for about 300 yards, and it also likes the shade. It rarely gets more than a few feet from the treeline...I guess this southern sun is a bit extreme for it.

It also is very drought tolerant, as we just went through two Summers of very extreme dryness. We even lost dozens of trees but the bamboo did just fine.

I would suggest digging where there are about three close culms and dig around them for your transplant. If the culms are too tall, you can top them which will help also since the root system will be partially cut off.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 10:29PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Kt, I agree about this southern sun!
I dug up three of them this afternoon, and in doing so, I cut off the root/connection they have to the mother plant. I was concerned that, since the connecting root or stolon or whatever it is was bigger than anticipated on all three, that these weren't going to take. When I got home with them the leaves had curled inwards. I potted them to big pots and added the necessary potting soil, watered them copiously, and the leaves on the two smallest ones unfurled right away and look happy - hopefully, the bigger one will respond by tomorrow. I plan on keeping them in the shade and real wet, since those conditions are what they grow biggest in, and, hopefully, they can make enough roots in the big pots that I can plant them out at least by this fall. I've got some good wet and shady areas on my property where I can plant them.
Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 11:49PM
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