Phyllostachys aurea (golden 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
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- 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
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Phyllostachys aurea Carrière ex. Rivière & C. Rivière
Preferred Common Name
- golden bamboo
Other Scientific Names
- Phyllostachys bambusoides var. aurea (Carrière ex. Rivière & C.Rivière) Makino
- Phyllostachys breviligula W.T.Lin & Z.M.Wu
- Phyllostachys formosana Hayata
- Phyllostachys meyeri var. aurea (Carrière ex. Rivière & C.Rivière) Pilipenko
- Phyllostachys puberula var. flavescensinversa J. Houz.
- Phyllostachys reticulata var. aurea (Carrière ex. Rivière & C.Rivière) Makino
- Sinarundinaria reticulata var. aurea (Rivière & C.Rivière) Ohwi
- Sinoarundinaria formosa (Hayata) Ohwi ex Mayeb.
International Common Names
- English: fish-pole bamboo
- Spanish: bambú amarillo; bambucito
- French: bambou jaune
- Chinese: ren mian zhu
- Portuguese: bambu-japonês; bambu-mirim
Local Common Names
- Brazil: bambú japonsê; bambu-amarelo; bambu-brasileiro; bambu-mirim
- China: ren mian zhu
- Cuba: bambucito
- France: bamboo jaune
- Indonesia: pring uncue
- Japan: hotei-chiku
- Vietnam: trus vafng
- PLLAR (Phyllostachys aurea)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
P.aurea is a highly invasive running bamboo native to Southeast China that is now widespread globally and especially problematic in Australia and North America. This woody, rhizomatous perennial grass rapidly forms a dense monoculture, suffocating other native plants and altering the entire ecosystem. As well as having detrimental effects on the environment this bamboo may also damage property and poses a potential threat to human health as it harbours a fungus responsible for the disease Histoplasmosis. Invasive bamboos are among the fastest growing plants on Earth and one infestation of P. aurea can spread as far as 9.3 miles. The spread is rapid in all directions, increasing each successive year.
It is listed as invasive in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Reunion, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, USA, Mexico, Spain and France. In the United States, it is listed as naturalized or invasive in 273 counties including the mid-Atlantic region of the USA, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Georgia. It is reported as fully naturalizing in New Zealand, with infestations forming dense stands, and some invading national parks. In Australia, this species is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland and New South Wales.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Monocotyledonae
- Order: Cyperales
- Family: Poaceae
- Genus: Phyllostachys
- Species: Phyllostachys aurea
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The family Poaceae comprises about 707 genera and 11,337 species distributed worldwide (Stevens, 2017). The subfamily Bambusoideae includes 116 genera and 1441 species of both woody and herbaceous bamboos occurring in tropical to temperate regions of Asia, often in forests (Ohrnberger, 1999; Stevens, 2017). There are about 76 species within the genus Phyllostachys (Ohrnberger, 1999). The name “Phyllostachys” means "leaf spike" and refers to the inflorescences while the specific epithet “aurea” refers to the golden color of old culms and was used by Carrière and later by A.& C. Rivière to name this species (Ohrnberger, 1999).
DescriptionTop of page
P. aurea 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.
Golden bamboo 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 golden bamboo (McClure, 1957). Most canes will have uniformly spaced sections (internodes) as the compressed internode trait only occurs on some canes. Golden bamboo has a slight cupped flare where the sections meet at the nodes (rings). In Japan, the compressed swollen internodes are referred to as deformed stems, and thought to be a reason for the cultivation of the species P. aurea, due to the curiosity of the deformed swollen internodes.
A pure planting of P. aurea can be identified with ease and certainty by the culms. Stems and branches are green when plants are young but turn golden yellow with age. Branches occur in uneven pairs with a groove called a sulcus (Arnold Arboretum, 1946; Gucker, 2009). They can grow to a maximum height of 11.8 m tall and are tolerant of colder temperatures (reportedly up to -20°C) (Arnold Arboretum, 1946; Young and Haun, 1961; Gucker, 2009; EDDMapS, 2016). 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). The length of the rhizomes increases each successive year. In a mature stand the rhizomes may spread 4-7.6 m underground each year (Young and Haun, 1961). Spread is rapid in all directions by the interconnected dense underground rhizome system. A single golden bamboo clump can produce rhizomes spreading 9.3 miles in its lifetime (Gucker, 2009). Flowers and seeds are rarely produced (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
The following description is from Flora of China (2017):
"Culms 5–12 m, 2–5 cm in diameter; internodes 15–30 cm, usually strongly shortened and commonly ventricose at basal nodes, distally inflated for several mm below node at mid-culm and basal nodes, initially white powdery, glabrous; wall 4–8 mm thick; nodal ridge as prominent as sheath scar or slightly more prominent; sheath scar initially fringed with white pubescence. Culm sheaths yellow-green or pale red-brown, becoming straw-colored, with variably sized brown spots, base edged with white pubescence; auricles and oral setae absent; ligule yellow-green, truncate or weakly convex at apex, very short, 1–2 mm, margin longer pale green ciliate; blade reflexed, green, with yellow margins, linear, flat or crinkled in upper sheaths. Leaves 2 or 3 per ultimate branch; sheath glabrous; auricles and oral setae absent or deciduous; ligule short; blade 6–12 × 1–1.8 cm, abaxially pilose especially near petiole."
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
Native to Southeast China and Vietnam, P. aurea has been in cultivation for some time in Japan, Europe and South America (McClure, 1957). It is now widely distributed, especially in North America, with reports as far north as Vancouver and British Columbia in Canada. It has escaped cultivation in Hawaii and Oahu (Gucker, 2009) and is documented as established and naturalized in Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe and Africa (USDA-ARS, 2017).
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: 17 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|-Lesser Sunda Islands||Present||Introduced||Cultivated|
|Canada||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Australia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present, Widespread||Introduced||1962||Invasive|
|-Western Australia||Present||Introduced||2003||Perth, edge of lake by drain|
|New Zealand||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Raoul Island|
|-Mato Grosso do Sul||Present||Introduced||Cultivated|
|-Rio de Janeiro||Present||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Rio Grande do Sul||Present||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Galapagos Islands||Present||Introduced||Santa Cruz Island|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Phyllostachys aurea was the first species of Phyllostachys to be successfully introduced into the USA. It was introduced to the southern United States before 1870 for ornamental purposes, and also used for erosion control and soil stabilization (Langeland et al., 2008). Earlier introductions of this species were made by private individuals, like George H. Todd in Montgomery, Alabama, who planted a 10 acre plot in 1882 (McClure, 1957). Mature culms were used for fishing poles and walking sticks (Young and Haun, 1961). In 1882 it was introduced in Alabama and since that time it has spread from Maryland to Florida, Louisiana to Arkansas and Oregon (Gucker, 2009).
Additional introductions into the USA occurred in 1914 by the United States Department of Agriculture with plants from the Centro Agricola at Bahia, Brazil obtained through V.A.Argolla Ferrao. These were under Plant Introduction No. 38919.
Some introductions into the USA were obtained from seeds from L’Hermitage, Mons, Belgium. These were from Jean Houzeau de Lehaie and were under Plant Introduction No. 55975. Plants were also obtained from the Royal Botanic Garden Kew, England, Plant Introduction No. 75153.
In many areas extensive infestations have been documented with rapid spread and reported as highly detrimental (EDDMapS, 2016). In Hawaii, it was first reported invading native plant communities in 1992, although it has been cultivated in the state for a long time prior (Gucker, 2009).
A clone covering one acre was documented as naturalizing on a steep hillside in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii. The infestation originally planted as a single ornamental planting has now spread to invade an entire hillside (Gucker, 2009). The footprint of P. aurea is astonishing as the speed of invasion increases each successive year, with the stage of invasion increasing dramatically over time (Rickel, 2012).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Australia||pre 1962||Horticulture (pathway cause)||Yes||No||AVH (2016); USDA-NRCS (2016); Queensland Government (2017)||Documented as extremely invasive, posing substantial threat to the environment|
|Hawaii||China||1882||Horticulture (pathway cause)||Yes||No||PIER (2016)|
|USA||China||Before 1870||Horticulture (pathway cause)||Yes||No||USDA-APHIS (2012)||Naturalized – infestations escaping and invasive|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Phyllostachys aurea is a high risk alien invader, recorded as High Risk in the USDA-APHIS Weed Risk Assessment of July 2012 (USDA-APHIS, 2012). This species is widely commercialized for ornamental purposes, soil erosion control, living fences and hedges (Langeland et al., 2008; USDA-ARS, 2017). Running bamboos are of great concern due to their rapid spread by an underground rhizome system, and the possibility of naturalization (Smith and Mack, 2012).There is a high risk potential for naturalization through improper rhizome disposal, and rhizome dispersal by water. Documentation shows infestations are spreading offsite by water without the aid of human cultivation (USDA-APHIS, 2012; Bugwood Presentations, 2014).
Also of great concern is the high volume of online sales, with rhizomes being shipped globally to a general public who may not be aware of the challenges of keeping this species under control. In many cases, online shipping is without a plant name shown, and easily bypasses all international plant regulation laws (Rickel, 2012).
HabitatTop of page
Phyllostachys aurea behaves as a problematic weed in untended areas, near gardens, along roadsides and waterways and in urban bushland (Queensland Government, 2017). Infestations occur in undisturbed habitats including along stream edges and riparian corridors (Smith and Mack, 2012). It thrives in full sun, but also tolerates shade, spreading into forests. Vigorous growth and rapid spread is seen in moist, deep loamy soils (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
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|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Continual thick leaf litter within the stand of bamboo along with the dense shade in the bamboo stand prohibits the growth of other species of plants. It is also possible that P. aurea has allelopathic effects (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The chromosome number reported for P. aurea is 2n=48 (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2020)
P. aurea reproduces vegetatively by rhizomes. It is capable of producing seeds but at very long intervals and the rarity of flowering makes reproduction by seed unlikely (USDA-APHIS, 2012). Although flowering is rare, sporadic and gregarious flowering has been observed. Gregarious flowering may occur when a clump is 15—30 years old (Chengde and Widjaja, 1995). Bamboo flowers 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
Phyllostachys aurea spreads rapidly by underground rhizomes each year followed by new culms each spring from the previous years rhizome spread. Spread is rapid in all directions (Gucker, 2009). New culms emerge in the spring and reach their mature height in a few weeks. Each successive year the culms emerge thicker, and the underground rhizomes rapidly spread faster each successive year. P. aurea is an evergreen, even though leaves change each year later in the spring. The old leaves fall off and are gradually replaced with new leaves (McClure, 1957).
P. aurea is long-lived, perennial bamboo.
Stems and branches of P. aurea are green when the plants are young but turn golden yellow with age. Branches occur in uneven pairs with a groove called a sulcus (Arnold Arboretum, 1946; Gucker, 2009). They can grow to a maximum height of 11.8 m tall (Arnold Arboretum, 1946; Young and Haun, 1961; Gucker, 2009; EDDMapS, 2016). 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). The length of the rhizomes increases each successive year. In a mature stand the rhizomes may spread 4-7.6 m underground each year (Young and Haun, 1961). Spread is rapid in all directions by the interconnected dense underground rhizome system. A single golden bamboo clump can produce rhizomes spreading 9.3 miles in its lifetime (Gucker, 2009). Dense stands can potentially invade acres of land, forming a monoculture and suffocating native vegetation as the rhizomes spread underground further each year (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
P. aurea can be found growing in tropical to temperate areas of the world. It is a cold hardy temperate running bamboo tolerating temperatures as low as -15°C and by some reports -20°C (Young and Haun, 1961; Gucker, 2009; EDDMapS, 2016). It grows best on rich, deep and well-drained sandy soils, but tolerates a variety of soil types. However it does not withstand waterlogged conditions (Chengde and Widjaja, 1995; Langeland et al., 2008).
In China, golden bamboo stands grow at low elevations up to 1000 m in the southeast and up to 2000 m in southwest (Gucker, 2009). In Indonesia it mostly grows in the highlands above 700 m altitude, and plants grown in the lowland have shorter and smaller culms. In the Philippines it grows very well in Baguio at 1500 m altitude with average temperatures of 18-26°C (Chengde and Widjaja, 1995).
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-20|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||10||30|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||15||35|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-15||20|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||4||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||1000||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Phyllostachys aurea can spread by seeds, and vegetatively via rhizomes and rhizome fragments. Cases of spread by water have been documented in Connecticut (Bugwood Presentations, 2014) and there is the potential for rhizome fragments to be washed downstream along riparian corridors (USDA-APHIS, 2012). Although spreading by seed is unlikely as flowers and seeds are rarely produced it cannot be ruled out completely (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Phyllostachys aurea quickly spreads outwards from deliberate garden plantings and pieces of rhizomes can also be dispersed in soil and dumped garden waste (Queensland Government, 2017). The spread of P. aurea along roadsides by plows moving rhizomes has been documented. Observation has shown loose rhizome fragments and rhizomes growing up along roadsides where plows could potentially transport the rhizome spreading the bamboo (USDA-APHIS, 2012). Improper disposal of the rhizomes is common, causing new bamboo infestations to start. Spread can occur from improper dumping of yard waste into natural areas (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Phyllostachys aurea has been widely introduced as an ornamental in both temperate and tropical areas of the world (Gucker, 2009). P. aurea has also been introduced for its use in making fishing poles, walking sticks, umbrella and fan handles and pipe stems (McClure, 1957).
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Disturbance||Accidental movement of rhizome contaminated soil||Yes||Yes||USDA-APHIS (2012)|
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||Rhizomes disposed in dumped garden waste||Yes||Yes||Queensland Government (2017)|
|Garden waste disposal||Accidental disposal of rhizomes by dumping yard waste||Yes||Yes||USDA-APHIS (2012)|
|Habitat restoration and improvement||Planted for erosion control and soil stabilization||Yes||Yes||Langeland et al. (2008)|
|Horticulture||Deliberately selling rhizomes online or promoted as an ornamental||Yes||Yes||Gucker (2009); Rickel (2012)|
|Landscape improvement||Sold as an ornamental||Yes||Yes||Gucker (2009)|
|Nursery trade||Sold as an ornamental||Yes||Gucker (2009)|
|Ornamental purposes||Yes||Yes||Gucker (2009)|
|People foraging||Shoots are consumed as a vegetable||Yes||Yes||Chengde and Widjaja (1995)|
|People sharing resources||Observation of problem infestations - origin||Yes||Yes||EDDMapS (2016)|
|Timber trade||Basal culms – wood||Yes||Yes||Chengde and Widjaja (1995)|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Economic/livelihood||Positive and negative|
|Environment (generally)||Positive and negative|
Economic ImpactTop of page
Phyllostachys aurea has a negative impact on property values. Numerous property appraisals have shown a reduced market value for a property that has the presence of Phyllostachys invasive running bamboo (Haussler, 2012; Brown, 2016).
Properties infested with Phyllostachys running bamboos often have a stigmatized market value and are very hard to sell (Sutton, 2016). Eradication is difficult and results in expensive bamboo abatement measures including the repeat use of pesticides.
A recent report of one bamboo eradication project at the historical Yorktown Battlefield in Virginia, USA is costing approximately $78,000 (Riddle, 2016).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Habitats
Phyllostachys aurea is highly detrimental to the environment and can alter entire native ecosystems. Once established it can rapidly form very dense thickets that displace native plant species and create dense shade that makes it difficult for seedlings of native species to survive. Once established, it can be very difficult to eradicate. It poses a threat to many natural areas, including parks and conservation land (USDA-APHIS, 2012; EDDMapS, 2016).
Impact on Biodiversity
Continual thick leaf litter within the stand of bamboo along with the dense shade in the bamboo stand inhibits the establishment of seeding and the growth of native species of plants. The formation of monocultures in forests and riparian corridors completely excludes other native vegetation and over time the bamboo will eventually form a dense forest (Young and Haun, 1961; USDA-APHIS, 2012; EDDMapS, 2016). It is also possible that P. aurea has allelopathic effects (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Phyllostachys aurea is listed as invasive in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Reunion, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, USA, Mexico, Spain and France. It is listed as invasive in 273 counties in the USA, including the mid-Atlantic region of the USA, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Georgia. It is reported to be fully naturalizing in New Zealand, with infestations forming dense stands, and some invading national parks (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Social ImpactTop of page
Phyllostachys aurea can have negative impacts on property, including damage to driveways and sidewalks (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Many laws and regulations have been passed to protect property and stop the continual nuisance. This list is growing as people are becoming more aware of the invasiveness of running bamboo (Rickel, 2014).
Phyllostachys aurea infestations may pose a serious indirect risk to human health as 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 et al., 2013). The microscopic fungus, Histoplasmacapsulatum, is found where bird droppings accumulate within the bamboo. This fungus produces airborne fungal spores which when inhaled can cause the disease Histoplasmosis. The disease produces very few symptoms, but can have serious health effects (Lenhardt et al., 2004; Cleveland Clinic, 2016; University of Maryland Medical Center, 2016).
When the blackbirds roost repeatedly for several years the bamboo may become an indirect threat to humans. The soil becomes contaminated with the spores of the fungus that cause histoplasmosis in humans. Workers removing bamboo should wear a respirator, or dust masks and take precautions to avoid inhaling the spores (Flynt and Glahn, 1993; Glahn et al., 1994).
Several cases have been reported recently, including two in Arkansas, USA. Such cases often involve burning of bamboo, which had been previously used as a blackbird roost. In 2011, a bamboo bonfire affected 18 people, where 7 individuals were confirmed to have contracted the disease and 11 others were likely to have contracted the disease (Haselow et al., 2014). Another similar story saw two children infected and transferred to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. It was later found that others who attended the same gathering were also ill with the same symptoms (Haselow et al., 2014). In 1980, another histoplasmosis case relating to bamboo was reported in Louisiana. Workers were clearing a large bamboo infestation that was heavily contaminated with blackbird faeces. All 6 workers became ill (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
- Is a habitat generalist
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Tolerant of shade
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reproduces asexually
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Modification of hydrology
- Modification of nutrient regime
- Modification of successional patterns
- Monoculture formation
- Negatively impacts forestry
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Negatively impacts animal/plant collections
- Competition - shading
- Competition (unspecified)
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult/costly to control
Uses ListTop of page
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Soil conservation
- 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
Phyllostachys aurea looks very similar in appearance to Phyllostachys aureosulcata. This confusion has led to many misidentifications, often with P. aureosulcata being incorrectly identified as P. aurea. However there are some differences which can be used to separate the two species. P. aureosulcata has a yellow groove (called a sulcus) on every other section (called an internode) of the young shoots. It also has a rough sand papery feel when rubbing a hand up and down the canes, and some culms that occasionally have a crook or zigzag growth pattern. These traits are not found in P. aurea.
In contrast, P. aurea will have compressed internodes bunched together and distorted. This characteristic trait will appear on a few lower canes and is unique to P. aurea. This trait has often been used to correctly identify the bamboo, for example, an infestation that naturalized in Illinios was originally reported as P. aurea, and later was found to be P. aureosulcata (Gucker, 2009).
Phyllostachys aurea is slightly less cold tolerant than P. aureosulcata, otherwise they behave similarly to all Phyllostachys invasive bamboos, which spread rapidly forming a dense monoculture choking off all native vegetation (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Phyllostachys aurea looks similar to Phyllostachys bambusoides and Phyllostachys nigra, and relatively similar to Arundo donax. These species can be distinguished by the following differences (Queensland Government, 2017):
Phyllostachys bambusoides has greenish or yellowish coloured mature stems that are usually 6-20 cm thick. These stems have a distinctive groove running lengthwise from above where the side branches are produced. Its relatively small leaf blades (up to 10 cm long) have a short stalk-like constriction at their base and several black bristles are present near the top of the leaf sheath.
Phyllostachys nigra has blackish or purplish-black coloured mature stems that are usually 1-4 cm thick. These stems have a distinctive groove running lengthwise from above where the side branches are produced. Its relatively small leaf blades (up to 12 cm long) have a short stalk-like constriction at their base and sometimes a few bristles (i.e. setae) are present near the top of the leaf sheath.
Arundo donax has greenish coloured stems that are up to 4 cm thick. These stems are rounded and do not have any lengthwise grooves. Its very large leaves (up to 80 cm long) are not constricted at the base of the leaf blade. Flowers are regularly borne in very large, feathery, whitish coloured open panicles at the tops of the stems.
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.
Rapid response is very important with P. aurea. The earlier a stand of bamboo is eradicated the easier it will be due to the size of the bamboo and spread of the rhizomes underground. Removing the bamboo before it escapes to surrounding properties is also advantageous. An established older stand will require a great deal more effort (Rickel, 2012; USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Educating the public not to plant Phyllostachys invasive running bamboo is one of the most important ways to prevent more infestations (Gucker, 2009). The public is becoming increasingly aware of the damage caused by Phyllostachys invasive running bamboo, at least in some places. Passing out fact sheets and spreading the word through education will help slow down the spread of this destructive invasive.
Diligence is required to eradicate an infestation of golden bamboo. The bamboo must be removed in its entirety to be successful. The area must be monitored closely for missed rhizome fragments as this is all that is needed to repeat the invasion (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Phyllostachys aurea easily bypasses containment eventually and planting it anywhere, even in containers, should be avoided (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
Effective bamboo removal involves digging out the rhizomes deeply enough to avoid leaving any rhizomes behind. This has proven to be the most effective bamboo removal.
Repeated cutting to the ground will not yield control; bamboo is a grass and easily tolerates cuttings (Bugwood, 2016). It has been documented that rhizome growth also becomes more aggressive after a disturbance, so removing all of the rhizomes is the most effective way to stop further spread and damage (Gucker, 2009).
There are no known biological controls for P. aurea. No documentation exists referring to insects or pathogens as a way to control golden bamboo (Gucker, 2009).
P. aurea resists herbicide and is difficult to eradicate. In most cases digging the rhizomes out proves to be faster and safer. Control with foliar application using glyphosate must be continuously repeated to be successful. The bamboo must be eradicated in its entirety to be successful. The area must be monitored closely for regrowth for several years (USDA-APHIS, 2012).
One of the reasons golden bamboo resists herbicide 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).
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
Asiatic Society of Japan, 1900. Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, 27. Hong Kong, Japan: Asiatic Society of Japan
AVH, 2016. Australia's Virtual Herbarium. http://avh.ala.org.au/
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ContributorsTop of page
28/06/16 Original text by:
Caryn Rickel, Institute of Invasive Bamboo Research, Connecticut, USA
12/04/2017: Updated by:
Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA
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