Phyllostachys aureosulcata (yellow groove bamboo)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Soil Tolerances
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Phyllostachys aureosulcata McClure
Preferred Common Name
- yellow groove bamboo
Other Scientific Names
- Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. alata T.H.Wen
- Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. aureocaulis Z.P.Wang & N.X.Ma
- Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. aureosulcata
- Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. pekinensis J.L.Lu
- Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis (Chu & Chao) C.D.Chu & C.S.Chao
- Phyllostachys spectabilis C.D.Chu & C.S.Chao
International Common Names
- English: forage bamboo; stake bamboo; stake japanese bamboo; yellow-groove bamboo; yellow-groove japanese bamboo
- Chinese: huang cao zhu
Local Common Names
- Germany: Rauher Gelbrinnenbambus
- Sweden: sicksackbambu; spectabilisbambu
- PLLAU (Phyllostachys aureosulcata)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
P. aureosulcata is a highly invasive running bamboo native to China, mainly in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. It has been introduced outside of its native range for ornamental purposes and is now particularly problematic and invasive in Australia and North America. This woody, perennial grass grows rapidly from a dense underground rhizome system. Invasive bamboos are among the fastest growing plants on Earth the spread is rapid in all directions and increases each successive year. As a result, it is possible for P. aureosulcata to form dense monocultures, suffocating native plants, decreasing biodiversity and altering the entire ecosystem of an area. As well as having detrimental effects on the environment this species may also damage property and pose as a potential health threat from harbouring a fungus responsible for causing Histoplasmosis disease. The closely related species, Phyllostachys aurea is also invasive.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Monocotyledonae
- Order: Cyperales
- Family: Poaceae
- Genus: Phyllostachys
- Species: Phyllostachys aureosulcata
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
P. aureosulcata is a species in the Poaceae family, a member of the grass family (The Plant List, 2013). The Poaceae family (Gramineae) consists of seven to ten subfamilies, among them is the subfamily Bambusoideae which includes both woody and herbaceous bamboos with approximately 1,575 species (Ohrnberger, 1999). There are approximately 76 species within the genus Phyllostachys (Ohrnberger, 1999).
P. aureosulcata is commonly referred to as yellow groove bamboo. The specific epithet aureosulcata, refers to the yellowish colour of the sulcus on young culms and branches and was used by McClure to name this species in 1945 (Ohrnberger, 1999). A number of cultivars of P. aureosulcata exist which differ slightly in their colour.
This species did not have a correctly assigned species name until 1945 and before 1945 was “nomina confusa [name confused]” (McClure, 1945). It was first distributed as a stake and forage bamboo and for years carried the misapplied name Phyllostachysnevinii (McClure, 1957). It was introduced into the USA as P.I. 23233, but was later renumbered as P.I. 55713 when it was discovered the original plant notes did not agree with Meyer’s notes (USDA-ARS, 2016). The original plant notes did not match, stating the species was a “ small growing variety not over 10 feet in height, forming dense clumps” (Rickel, 2016). It was originally collected as an unidentified species (Arnold Arboretum, 1946). After discovery of the error in 1933, the plants were widely distributed by the Department of Agriculture simply as Phyllostachys spp. P.I. No. 55713, until the species was described with the new scientific name P. aureosulcata by McClure in 1945 (Arnold Arboretum, 1946). The type specimen of P. nevinii, deposited at Kew was examined by Floyd A. McClure in 1935 and later by C.E. Hubbard, to see if there was any resemblance. It was determined that the name was misapplied and the two represented two entirely different species. Plant Introduction No. 55713 Phyllostachys spp. would later be named Phyllostachys aureosulcata by McClure in 1945 (McClure, 1945).
DescriptionTop of page
P. aureosulcata is a woody, rhizomatous perennial grass, which grows to form a dense bamboo forest. The main stem is called a culm. The culm is made up of jointed segments. The rings are called nodes. The sections between the nodes or rings, are called internodes.
P. aureosulcata has three identifying characteristics: (1) a yellow groove (called a sulcus) on every other internode (space above branch attachments), during the first year or two of the life of the culm; (2) a slight roughness to the touch at first on the internodes of new culms; and (3) occasional culms with a striking zigzag growth involving two or three of the lower nodes and internodes, rarely seen in any other bamboo. The yellow groove will fade with the age of the culm and become gradually less apparent. Unique also are the creamy white striped culm sheaths on newly emerging culms (Young and Haun, 1961).
McClure describes these morphological traits as internodes of young culms scabrous to touch and showing a distinct colouration of the sulcus of young culms and their branches as a greenish-yellow panel on the groove. The diameter of the culms can reach 15 cm, but are usually 9 cm or less depending on the age of the stand. Each year the culms will emerge thicker (Gucker, 2009). Culms and branches are green when young, with the green colour of the culm and yellow sulcus fading with age (Arnold Arboretum, 1946; Gucker, 2009).
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
P. aureosulcata is native to China, distributed mostly in the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui but is also found as far north as Beijing (Ohrnberger, 1999).
P. aureosulcata is also now one of the most widely distributed species within the Phyllostachys genus.
It is present in the USA (Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia) where it has become naturalized in a at least 10 of these states (USDA-APHIS, 2012). Infestations are spreading to form dense stands, some invading national parks, wetlands and open space (EDDMapS, 2016). New reports of naturalization continue to be reported in other states (David Snyder, Botanist, NJ DEP, USA, personal communication, 2016).
There are reports of this species as far north as Canada (Pascoe, 2016).
P. aureosulcata is listed as invasive in Australia (NSW Government Department of Primary Industries, 2016) and is widely established in Germany (Ohrnberger, 1999). In Europe, it is also present in France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 25 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Canada||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-District of Columbia||Present||Introduced|
|-New York||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
|-New South Wales||Present||Introduced||Invasive|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
P. aureosulcata was first introduced into the USA from Tangsi, Chekiang Province (now Zhejiang province), China by Frank N. Meyer in 1908. Frank N. Meyer was a collector at the Plant Introduction Station at Savannah, Georgia. At the time, it was distributed as a stake and forage bamboo and for years carried the misapplied name Phyllostachysnevinii (McClure, 1957).
P. aureosulcata is naturalizing in USA. In Illinois it is vegetatively escaping from an old home site into dry-mesic upland forest (USDA-APHIS, 2012). Cases of infestations spreading by rhizomes washing downstream have been documented in Connecticut (Bugwood Presentations, 2014; Bugwood Presentations, 2015). The footprint of P. aureosulcata is astonishing as the speed of invasion increases each successive year, with the stage of invasion increasing dramatically over time (Rickel, 2012).
There is little information about the introduction of P. aureosulcata into Europe. However, Ohrnberger (1999) reports that it was introduced into Germany from Italy in 1961 and was therefore introduced before this date.
IntroductionsTop of page
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
P. aureosulcata is a high risk alien invader (USDA-APHIS, 2012) and is of great concern due to its rapid spread by an underground rhizome system and the possibility of naturalization (Smith and Mack, 2012). A Weed Risk Assessment for the USA estimated that 32% of the USA is suitable for this species to establish (USDA-APHIS, 2012). There is also a high risk potential for naturalization through improper rhizome disposal and rhizome dispersal by water (USDA-APHIS, 2012; Bugwood Presentations, 2014; Bugwood Presentations, 2015).
Of great concern is the high volume of online sales, with rhizomes being shipped all over the world via the internet for ornamental purposes. In many cases online shipping is without a plant name shown and easily bypasses all international plant regulation laws (Rickel, 2012).
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Wetlands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Wetlands||Present, no further details||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
P. aureosulcata reproduces vegetatively and spread is rapid in all directions by an interconnected dense underground rhizome system. A single clump of the closely related and invasive P. aurea can produce rhizomes spreading 9.3 miles in its lifetime (Gucker, 2009).
P. aureosulcata is also capable of producing seeds at very long intervals. The rarity of flowering makes reproduction by seed unlikely (USDA-APHIS, 2012). The flowers of this species are hermaphrodite and are wind pollinated. There are contradictory reports that bamboo dies after flowering. Some reports suggest the rhizomes are capable of resprouting (Gucker, 2009).
Physiology and Phenology
P. aureosulcata spreads rapidly by underground rhizomes each year followed by the growth of new culms each spring from the previous year’s rhizome spread. Spread is rapid in all directions (USDA-APHIS, 2012). New culms emerge in the spring and reach their mature height in a few short weeks. Each successive year the culms emerge thicker, with underground rhizomes that rapidly spread faster each successive year. In a mature stand the rhizomes may spread 15-25 feet underground each year (Young and Haun, 1961).
P. aureosulcata is an evergreen, though old leaves fall off and are gradually replaced with new leaves every year (McClure, 1957).
P. aureosulcata is long lived and will form a dense forest over time. Documentation and field work have shown the infestation increases over time can cover many hectares (EDDMapS, 2016).
P. aureosulcata is a cold hardy temperate species which can tolerate temperatures as low as -26°C. Other reports record this species in areas with winter temperatures as low as -34°C. In this instance, the above ground portions suffer winter damage, but the rhizome remains intact and will grow back in the summer (USDA-APHIS, 2012; EDDMapS, 2016). Limited information is available on its full native distribution in China, but reports show that the congener, P. aurea grows at elevations up to 1,000 m in southeast China. In the southwest region of China, P. aurea stands grow at elevations up to 2,000 m. Both P. aureosulcata and P. aurea are expected to behave similarly (USDA-APHIS, 2012; Gucker, 2009).
P. aureosulcata can grow in light, medium and heavy soils with an acidic, neutral or basic pH (Plants for a Future, 2015).
ClimateTop of page
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Ds - Continental climate with dry summer||Tolerated||Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)|
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
P. aureosulcata reproduces vegetatively by producing new shoots from underground rhizomes which enables the plant to spread locally. For the closely related species P. aurea, a single clump of rhizome can spread 15 km in its lifetime (Gucker, 2009). However, it is also possible for rhizomes of P. aureosulcata to be dispersed into new locations by water (USDA-APHIS, 2012; Swearingen and Bargeron, 2016). This has been documented in Connecticut (Bugwood Presentations, 2014; Bugwood Presentations, 2015). Although spreading by seed is unlikely as flowers seeds are produced only rarely, it cannot be ruled out completely (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
The spread of P. aureosulcata along roadsides by ploughs moving rhizomes has been documented (USDA-APHIS, 2012). Improper disposal of the rhizomes, such as the dumping of waste into natural areas, is also a common cause of spread, resulting in new infestations (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
P. aureosulcata has been widely introduced for its use as an ornamental species. It was widely distributed as a stake and forage bamboo for farm use. P. aureosulcata has also been used for making fishing poles and garden stakes. The occasional culms with a zigzag growth however, have detracted from its acceptability as compared to other bamboos (McClure, 1957).
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Disturbance||Accidental movement of rhizome contaminated soil||Yes||Yes||USDA-APHIS (2012)|
|Garden waste disposal||Accidental disposal of rhizomes by dumping yard waste||Yes||Yes||USDA-APHIS (2012)|
|Horticulture||Promoted as an ornamental||Yes||Rickel (2012); USDA-APHIS (2012)|
|Landscape improvement||Sold as an ornamental||Yes||Yes||USDA-APHIS (2012)|
|Nursery trade||Sold as an ornamental||Yes||Yes||USDA-APHIS (2012)|
|Ornamental purposes||Yes||Yes||USDA-APHIS (2012)|
|People sharing resources||Yes||Yes||EDDMapS (2016)|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
P. aureosulcata can have a negative impact on the value of properties. Numerous property appraisals have shown a reduced market value and are difficult to sell if P. aureosulcata is present (Connecticut General Assembly, 2012; Brown, 2016; Sutton, 2016). In addition to this, it can have negative impacts on property, including causing damage to driveways and sidewalks. Rhizomes have also damaged swimming pools and invaded septic and leach fields (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
P. aureosulcata is highly detrimental to the environment and can alter an entire native ecosystem through its rapid formation of dense stands. The continual thick leaf litter within the stand of P. aureosulcata along with the dense shade in the stand prohibits the growth of other species of native plants, decreasing biodiversity and altering habitats. Overtime these stands can eventually form a dense forest (Young and Hahn, 1961; USDA-APHIS, 2012; EDDMapS, 2016). P. aureosulcata poses a threat to many natural areas, including parks and conservation land (USDA-APHIS, 2012; EDDMapS, 2016). It is also possible that P. aureosulcata has allelopathic effects (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Social ImpactTop of page
P. aureosulcata infestations may pose a serious risk to human health. Blackbird and starling species often roost in Phyllostachys invasive bamboos and can serve as vectors for the human respiratory disease, Histoplasmosis (Glahn et al., 1994; Miller, 2013). The microscopic fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum, is found where bird droppings accumulate within the bamboo infestation. This fungus produces airborne spores which, when inhaled, can cause the disease. Histoplasmosis produces very few symptoms but can have serious health effects (Lenhardt, 2004; Cleveland Clinic, 2016; University of Maryland Medical Center, 2016). When blackbirds roost repeatedly for several years the bamboo becomes a threat to humans. The soil also becomes contaminated with the spores of the fungus and there have been a number of reports of humans contracting this disease after exposure to Phyllostachys bamboo where birds previously roosted (Haselow et al., 2014).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerant of shade
- Long lived
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reproduces asexually
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Host damage
- Monoculture formation
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts forestry
- Negatively impacts human health
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - shading
- Competition (unspecified)
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
P. aureosulcata was introduced into a number of countries for its ornamental purposes. Plants may be grown to create a screen or hedge and the canes may be used for light construction.
The young shoots of P. aureosulcata may also be eaten either raw or cooked (PFAF, 2016).
Uses ListTop of page
- Botanical garden/zoo
- Carved material
- garden plant
Wood ProductsTop of page
Sawn or hewn building timbers
- For light construction
- Industrial and domestic woodware
- Sports equipment
- Tool handles
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
P. aureosulcata is often confused with P. aurea due to the close similarity in appearance (USDA-APHIS, 2012). As a result, many identifications of P. aurea are in fact P. aureosulcata. The lumping of P. aureosulcata as P. aurea without proper identification exists in particular in the northern states. For example, it has been documented that most specimens in the 13 southernmost counties of Illinois are in fact P. aureosulcata and not P. aurea (Basinger, 2001). It is however possible to distinguish between the two species.
P. aureosulcata has a yellow groove (called a sulcus) on every other internode of young shoots, a rough sand papery feel when rubbing hand up and down canes and some random culms that occasionally have a crook or zigzag growth pattern. These traits are not found in P. aurea. In contrast, P. aurea has distinct swollen internodes bunched up together at the bottom of some random canes. This unique trait is useful for certainty in the ID of P. aurea (McClure, 1957). P. aureosulcata is slightly more cold tolerant than P. aurea (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Prevention and Control
P. aureosulcata has been listed as invasive in the state of New York, USA. As such it is prohibited to possess with the intent to sell, sell or purchase this species (New York State DEC, 2014).
It is important to control P. aureosulcata rapidly, as soon as a stand is identified. This helps to prevent the rapid spread of the rhizome.
Effective removal of P. aureosulcata involves digging out the rhizomes at the correct depth to avoid leaving any rhizomes behind. Repeated cutting to the ground will not control it as this species easily tolerates cutting (Bugwood, 2016). It has been documented that rhizome growth also becomes more aggressive after disturbance, therefore removing of all of the rhizomes is essential to stop further spread and damage (Gucker, 2009).
Control of P. aureosulcata using herbicides is difficult. One of the reasons is that the rhizomes are chambered off inside (segmented) and can be very dense, making it very difficult to eradicate with herbicides (Mark Czarnota, University of Georgia, USA, personal communication, 2012). Control with foliar applications of glyphosate have been reported but must be repeated to be successful and the area must be monitored closely for several years for any regrowth (USDA-APHIS, 2012). The cost of controlling this species using herbicides can be expensive.
ReferencesTop of page
Arnold Arboretum, 1946. Bamboos for Northern Gardens - Vol. A continuation of the Bulletin of Popular Information of the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. Massachusetts, USA: Harvard University. http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/1946-6--bamboos-for-northern-gardens.pdf
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Bugwood Presentations, 2014. Nine known escapes from cultivation of Phyllostachys aureosulcata in Connecticut. http://presents.bugwood.org/browse/view.cfm?pn=00000189
Bugwood Presentations, 2015. Tenth escape from cultivation of Phyllostachys aureosulcata in Connecticut. USDA. http://presents.bugwood.org/browse/view.cfm?pn=00000196
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ITIS, 2016. Integrated Taxonomic Information System online database. http://www.itis.gov
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Rickel C, 2016. History of a new alien invader in the Northeastern USA, Phyllostachys aureosulcata - yellow groove bamboo. Connecticut, USA: Institute of Invasive Bamboo Research, 13 pp. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxpbnZhc2l2ZWJhbWJvb3Jlc2VhcmNofGd4OjU3YmRmNTViM2E2NDUzOTQ
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Smith M; Mack R, 2012. Current status of naturalized temperate Asian bamboos in the United States: An on-going survey. Pullman, Washington, USA: School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University. https://eco.confex.com/eco/2012/preliminaryprogram/abstract_35438.htm
Sutton R, 2016. How "not" to sell your home! Plant a little bamboo. Maryland, USA: Keller Williams. http://blog.rosssutton.com/blog/sell-home-plant-little-bamboo/
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