Bamboo (natural) BAM
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BAMBOO
Bamboo is ...
- the fastest growing woody plant on this planet
It grows one third faster than the fastest growing tree. Some species can grow up to 1 meter per day. One can almost "watch it grow". This growth pattern makes it easily accessible in a minimal amount of time. Size ranges from miniatures to towering culms of 60 meters.
- a critical element in the balance of oxygen / carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
Bamboo is the fastest growing canopy for the re-greening of degraded areas and generates more oxygen than equivalent stand of trees. It lowers light intensity and protects against ultraviolet rays and is an atmospheric and soil purifier.
- a viable replacement for wood
Bamboo is one of the strongest building materials. Bamboo's tensile strength is 28,000 per square inch versus 23,000 for steel. In the tropics is it possible to plant and grow your own bamboo home. In a plot 20m x 20m, in the course of 5 years, two 8m x 8m homes can be constructed from the harvest. Every year after that the yield is one additional house per plot.
- an enduring natural resource
Bamboo can be selectively harvested annually. Bamboo provided the first re-greening in Hiroshima after the atomic blast in 1945. Thomas Edison successfully used a carbonized bamboo filament in his first experiment with the light bulb.
- versatile with a short growth cycle
There are over 1000 species of bamboo on the earth. The diversity makes bamboo adaptable to many environments. It can be harvested in 3-5 years versus 10-20 years for most softwoods. Bamboo tolerates extremes of precipitation, from 30-250 inches of annual rainfall.
- a critical element of the economy
Bamboo and its related industries already provide income, food and housing to over 2.2 billion people worldwide. There is a 3-5 year return on investment for a new bamboo plantation versus 8-10 years for rattan. Governments such as India, China and Burma with 19,800,000 hectares of bamboo reserves collectively, have begun to focus attention on the economic factors of bamboo production.
- an essential structural material in earthquake architecture
In Limon, Costa Rica, only the bamboo houses from the National Bamboo Project stood after their violent earthquake in 1992. Flexible and lightweight bamboo enables structures to "dance" in earthquakes.
- a renewable resource for agro forestry products
Bamboo is a high-yield renewable natural resource: ply bamboo is now being used for wall paneling, floor tiles; bamboo pulp, for paper making, briquettes for fuel, raw material for housing construction, and rebar for reinforced concrete beams.
- a soil conservation tool
Bamboo is exquisite component of landscape design. It's anti-erosion properties create an effective watershed, stitching the soil together along fragile river banks, deforested areas, and in places prone to earthquakes and mud slides. The sum of stem flow rate and canopy intercept of bamboo is 25% which means that bamboo greatly reduces rain run-off, preventing massive soil erosion.
- an ancient medicine
Bamboo has for centuries been used in Ayurveda and Chinese acupuncture. The powdered hardened secretion from bamboo is used internally to treat asthma, coughs and can be used a an aphrodisiac. In China, ingredients from the root of the black bamboo help treat kidney disease. Roots and leaves have also been used to treat venereal disease and cancer. Sap is said to reduce fever and ash will cure prickly heat. Current research point to bamboo's potential in a number of medicinal uses.
- integrally involved in culture and the arts
Bamboo is a mystical plant as a symbol of strength, flexibility, tenacity, endurance, luck and compromise. Throughout Asia, bamboo has for centuries been integral to religions ceremonies, art, music and daily life. It is the paper, the brush and the inspiration of poems and paintings. Among the earliest historical records, 2nd century B.C. were written on green bamboo strips strung together in a bundle with silk thread. Instruments made of bamboo create unique resonance.
- a food source
Bamboo shoots provide nutrition for million of people worldwide. In Japan, the antioxidant properties of pulverized bamboo bark prevents bacterial growth and its used a natural food preservative. Bamboo make fodder for animals and food for fish. Taiwan alone consumes 80,000 tons of bamboo shoots annually constituting at $50 million industry.
- a landscape design element
Bamboo is an exquisite component of landscape design. For the human environment, bamboo provides shade, wind break, acoustical barriers and aesthetic beauty.
BRIEF BAMBOO GLOSSARY
an ear-like appendage that occurs at the base of some leaves.
Cilium (pl. Cilia)
one of the marginal hairs bordering the auricle.
growing in tufts, or close clumps, as in bamboos with sympodial rhizomes.
all the plants reproduced, vegetatively, from a single parent. In theory, all the plants from the same clone have the same genotype (genetic inheritance).
the main stem of the Graminae (grasses). The stem of a bamboo is also referred as a cane.
the plant casing (similar to a leaf) that protects the young bamboo shoot during growth, attached at each node of culm. Useful for distinguish species within a genus.
seedling sports from a species which have multiplied from a single clonal source. A sport is a plant abnormally departing, especially in form or color, from the parent stock; a spontaneous mutation.
usually occurs when all plants in a single clone (which has been repeatedly divided and distributed) flower at about the same time.
water expelled over night as droplets from the tips of bamboo leaves.
segment of culm, branch, or rhizome between nodes.
temperate, running bamboo rhizome. It’s usually thinner then the culms they support and the internodes are long and hollow.
describes the growth habit of the rhizomes of running temperate bamboos. The main rhizome continues to grow underground, with some buds producing side shoots (new rhizomes) and others producing aerial shoots (new culms).
the joint between hollow segments of a culm, branch, or rhizome; the point at which a rigid membrane of vascular bundles lends strength to an axis of bamboo by crossing it from wall to wall.
describes the rhizomes of clumping bamboos. They are short and usually thicker then the culms they produce. These rhizomes have a circular cross-section that diminishes towards the tips. The internodes are short, thick (except the bud-bearing internodes, which are more elongated) and solid (with no cavities). See also Sympodial.
a food-storing branch of the underground system of growth in bamboos from buds of which culms emerge above ground. Popularly known as rootstock, rhizomes are basically of two forms: sympodial (tropical, clumping, Pachimorph) and monopodial (temperate, running, Leptomorph).
husk-like protective organ attached basally to each rhizome node.
describes a bamboo whose rhizomes have a markedly horizontal growth habit, and tend to develop along the surface of the soil.
the stage in the development of the bud before it becomes a culm with branches and leaves.
a groove or depression running along the internodes of culms or branches.
describes the growth habit of the rhizomes of caespitose bamboos. The rhizomes emerge from the lateral buds of other rhizomes, while the terminal buds produce new culms. See also Pachymorphic.
the tender young shoot as it emerges from the ground without branches or leaves.