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Is this Alphonse Karr?

Posted by fyton2v (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 26, 12 at 13:22

I picked these up from a disorganized nursery a a little while ago and I'd really like to sleep comfortably at night knowing that this is clumping bamboo. If I chose incorrectly and this species runs it'll be a nightmare. The person at the nursery told me it was Alphonse Karr, but he thought AK was a running species... where as my research told me it clumps. So... disorganized nursery + uniformed worker = a worried new bamboo owner.
Would you mind looking at the photos below of 2 separate plants and give me your opinion on species?

Plant 1: I split it so it looks thin and scraggly



Plant 2:



Thank you!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is this Alphonse Karr?

Yes, Al Karr is a clumper and from those pics it looks like that is what you have...Bambusa multiplex 'Alphonse Karr'.


RE: Is this Alphonse Karr?

I agree with Kentuck. The only question is: What's your Zone? Alphonse Karr is only hardy to about 18F, and will get leaf and culm damage at temperatures that are in the mid-20s.

RE: Is this Alphonse Karr?

Thanks to the both of you! I'm in southern ca... zone 9ish. I had this species in another house and it was pretty healthy year around. After I bought these plants I learned that some running bamboo has that telltale green stripe and it made me wonder if the nursery had their plants wrong. I'm relieved it's AK.

Thanks again.

RE: Is this Alphonse Karr?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 28, 12 at 3:04

You mean like this one? Notice the similar leaves, branching and broad culm sheaths.

I am growing three clumps of this and would not be surprised if it is actually what you have. Although I may never have seen it produce quite the same fine striping.

Here is a link that might be useful: semiarundinaria yashadake kimmei - Google Search

RE: Is this Alphonse Karr?

I've grown both Alphonse Karr and S. y. 'Kimmei', and I find them to be distinctively different. The Kimmei has only a single, consistent, fairly broad, green stripe, while the Alphonse Karr has highly variable, and multiple green striping. The culms on the Kimmei are straight, while the Alphonse Karr culms sometimes exhibit slight bends. In addition, the branching is different. The Kimmei culms come up pretty uniform in diameter, while the Alphonse Karr will put up more variable diameters in even a single season. Lastly, the Kimmei usually has a distinctively rosy hue on the culms.

I'm satisfied that fyton has Alphonse Karr.

RE: Is this Alphonse Karr?

Well stated, Kudzu, and I agree. I also grow both and the similarities are few.

More similar looking bamboos to Al Karr, are Bambusa eutuldoides 'Viridivittata' and Bambusa pervariabilis 'Viridistriatus', both of which I also grow but these are more rare and grow much larger. They also do not look quite like the pics you have especially when they are small.


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