Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Bambusa vulgaris
(common bamboo)

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Datasheet

Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 08 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Bambusa vulgaris
  • Preferred Common Name
  • common bamboo
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • B. vulgaris is the most commonly encountered bamboo in cultivation in SE Asia and is grown pantropically, being the only Asian species that is common in the New World. As its culms and branches root very readil...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit. Area within the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque, Puerto Rico) invaded by B. vulgaris.
TitleHabit
CaptionBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit. Area within the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque, Puerto Rico) invaded by B. vulgaris.
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit. Area within the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque, Puerto Rico) invaded by B. vulgaris.
HabitBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit. Area within the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque, Puerto Rico) invaded by B. vulgaris.©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit. Area within the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque, Puerto Rico) invaded by B. vulgaris.
TitleHabit
CaptionBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit. Area within the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque, Puerto Rico) invaded by B. vulgaris.
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit. Area within the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque, Puerto Rico) invaded by B. vulgaris.
HabitBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit. Area within the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque, Puerto Rico) invaded by B. vulgaris.©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit
TitleHabit
CaptionBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit
HabitBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); habit©K.M. Siddiqui
Bambusa vulgaris cv wamin; habit
TitleHabit
CaptionBambusa vulgaris cv wamin; habit
CopyrightSoetjami Dransfield
Bambusa vulgaris cv wamin; habit
HabitBambusa vulgaris cv wamin; habitSoetjami Dransfield
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); young shoot
TitleYoung shoot
CaptionBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); young shoot
CopyrightSoetjami Dransfield
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); young shoot
Young shootBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); young shootSoetjami Dransfield
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); flowers
TitleFlowers
CaptionBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); flowers
CopyrightJohn Dransfield
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); flowers
FlowersBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); flowersJohn Dransfield
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); clump with yellow culms
TitleHabit
CaptionBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); clump with yellow culms
CopyrightJohn Dransfield
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); clump with yellow culms
HabitBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); clump with yellow culmsJohn Dransfield
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); foliage
TitleFoliage
CaptionBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); foliage
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); foliage
FoliageBambusa vulgaris (common bamboo); foliage©K.M. Siddiqui
1. young shoot
2. culm leaf (abaxial side)
3. leafy branch
4. leaf sheath with auricles and pseudopetiole
5. flowering branch
6. pseudospikelet
TitleLine artwork
Caption1. young shoot 2. culm leaf (abaxial side) 3. leafy branch 4. leaf sheath with auricles and pseudopetiole 5. flowering branch 6. pseudospikelet
CopyrightPROSEA Foundation
1. young shoot
2. culm leaf (abaxial side)
3. leafy branch
4. leaf sheath with auricles and pseudopetiole
5. flowering branch
6. pseudospikelet
Line artwork1. young shoot 2. culm leaf (abaxial side) 3. leafy branch 4. leaf sheath with auricles and pseudopetiole 5. flowering branch 6. pseudospikeletPROSEA Foundation

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Bambusa vulgaris Schrad. ex Wendl.

Preferred Common Name

  • common bamboo

Variety

  • Bambusa vulgaris var. aureovariegata
  • Bambusa vulgaris var. latiflora
  • Bambusa vulgaris var. latifolia
  • Bambusa vulgaris var. striata (Lodd. ex Lindley) Gamble
  • Bambusa vulgaris var. vittata A. & C. Rivière

Other Scientific Names

  • Arundarbor blancoi (Steud.) Kuntze
  • Arundarbor fera (Oken) Kuntze
  • Arundarbor monogyna (Blanco) Kuntze
  • Arundarbor striata (Lindl.) Kuntze
  • Arundo fera Oken
  • Bambusa auriculata Kurz
  • Bambusa blancoi Steud.
  • Bambusa fera (Oken) Miq.
  • Bambusa monogyna Blanco
  • Bambusa nguyenii Ohrnb.
  • Bambusa sieberi Griseb.
  • Bambusa striata Lodd. ex Lindley
  • Bambusa surinamensis Rupr.
  • Bambusa thouarsii Kunth
  • Gigantochloa auriculata (Kurz) Kurz
  • Leleba vulgaris (Schrad. ex J.C.Wendl.) Nakai
  • Nastus thouarsii Kunth
  • Nastus viviparus Rssp
  • Oxytenanthera auriculata (Kurz) Prain
  • Phyllostachys striata (Lodd. ex Lindl.) Nakai

International Common Names

  • English: bamboo; feathery bamboo; golden bamboo; yellow bamboo
  • Spanish: bambu; bambúa; caña brava; caña India; cañambú; cañaza
  • French: bambou; bois bambou; grand bambou
  • Chinese: long tou zhu

Local Common Names

  • Bangladesh: bariala
  • Brazil: bambu-brasileiro; bambu-verde
  • Cambodia: rüssèi kaèw
  • Cameroon: lefyog; mfele
  • Cuba: caña brava
  • Germany: Bambus
  • India: bakal; bariala; basini bans
  • Indonesia: bambu ampel; bambu kuning; domar
  • Japan: dai-san-chiku; kinshi-chiku
  • Malaysia: bulub minyak; tamelang
  • Mexico: bacaú; bamboo patamba; cupamu
  • Myanmar: wanet
  • Netherlands: bamboes
  • Nigeria: agarabà; igbon ikirai
  • Philippines: butong; kabaloan; kauayan-kiling
  • Senegal: i ngol
  • Sierra Leone: kasul; ken; kewe; pilanda
  • Thailand: phai-luang
  • Vietnam: phai bongkham; phai-bongthaur

EPPO code

  • BAMVU (Bambusa vulgaris)

Subspecies

  • Bambusa vulgaris 'Wamin'

Summary of Invasiveness

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B. vulgaris is the most commonly encountered bamboo in cultivation in SE Asia and is grown pantropically, being the only Asian species that is common in the New World. As its culms and branches root very readily, it naturalizes forming monospecific stands along river banks, roadsides and in open ground. B. vulgaris has the potential to invade relative unaltered forests moving along streams (Blundell et al., 2003).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Cyperales
  •                         Family: Poaceae
  •                             Genus: Bambusa
  •                                 Species: Bambusa vulgaris

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Bambusa (family Poaceae) consists of 120 bamboo species indigenous to Asia and the New World. B. vulgaris (common bamboo) is a widely-grown species with several infra-specific taxa, known variously as varieties or cultivars, including forms with variously green and yellow-striped culms which are sometimes placed in distinct varieties or even species. ‘Wamin’ is a common cultivated form with ventricose to very short, concertina-like internodes (Stapleton, 2007).

Description

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Open clumping, sympodial bamboo. Culm erect, sinuous or slightly zig-zag, 10-20 m tall, 4-10 cm in diameter, wall 7-15 mm thick, glossy green, yellow, or yellow with green stripes; internodes 20-45 cm long, with appressed dark hairs and white waxy when young, becoming glabrous, smooth and shiny with age; nodes oblique, slightly swollen, basal ones covered with aerial roots. Encased in tightly packed leaves, shoots are conical in shape, bulging slightly above the base before tapering towards the tip (Collins and Keilar, 2005).

Branches arising from midculm nodes upward, occasionally also at lower nodes, several to many at each node with primary branch dominant. Culm sheath more or less broadly triangular, 15-45 cm long, 20 cm wide, upper ones longest, deciduous, light green becoming stramineous, covered with black hairs, margins hairy, apex slightly rounded at the junction with the blade.

Blade erect, broadly triangular, 4-5 cm long, 5-6 cm wide, slightly narrowed at the junction with the sheath, stiffly acuminate, hairy on both surfaces and along the lower part of the margins; ligule 3 mm long, slightly serrated; auricles relatively large, 0.5- 2 cm long, with pale brown bristles 3-8 mm long along the edges. Young shoot yellow green, covered with black hairs.

Leaf blade 6-30 cm long, 1-4 cm wide, glabrous; ligule a subentire rim 0.5-1.5 mm; auricles small rounded lobes, with a few bristles 1-3 mm.

Inflorescence usually borne on a leafless branch of a leafless culm or on a culm with small leaves, bearing small groups of pseudospikelets at the nodes, 2-6 cm apart; spikelets 12-19 (-35) mm long, laterally flattened, appearing strongly 2-cleft, comprising 5-10 perfect florets and a terminal vestigial floret. Caryopsis not known.

Flowering in B. vulgaris is not common. When a culm flowers, it produces a large number of flowers but no fruit, and eventually the culm dies, but the clumps usually survive and return to fully vegetative growth within a few years.

Plant Type

Top of page Grass / sedge
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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B. vulgaris originated in the Old World, probably in tropical Asia. It is the most widely cultivated bamboo throughout the tropics and subtropics, but is also found spontaneously or naturalized on river banks. In South-East Asia it is the most commonly encountered cultivated bamboo, found everywhere in villages, on river banks and as an ornamental in towns.

Distribution Table

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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.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
BhutanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Brunei DarussalamPresent Planted
CambodiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
Chagos ArchipelagoPresentIntroduced Invasive Rivers, 2004
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedWu, 2001Cultivated
-YunnanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-Arunachal PradeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-AssamPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-BiharPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-ChandigarhPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-ChhattisgarhPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-Dadra and Nagar HaveliPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-DamanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-DelhiPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-DiuPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-GoaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-GujaratPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-HaryanaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-Indian PunjabPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-JharkhandPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-KeralaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-ManipurPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-MeghalayaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-MizoramPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-NagalandPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-OdishaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-RajasthanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-SikkimPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-TripuraPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-West BengalPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Irian JayaPresent Planted
-JavaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-KalimantanPresent Planted
-MoluccasPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-SumatraPresent Planted
JapanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresent
LaosPresentNative Planted Clayton et al., 2014
MalaysiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroduced Planted Clayton et al., 2014
-SabahPresent Planted
-SarawakPresent Planted
MaldivesPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
MyanmarPresentNative Planted Clayton et al., 2014
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
SingaporePresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Chong et al., 2009
Sri LankaPresentIntroduced Planted Clayton et al., 2014
TaiwanPresent Planted
ThailandPresentNative Planted Clayton et al., 2014
VietnamPresentNative Planted Clayton et al., 2014

Africa

BeninPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
CameroonPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
GabonPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014
GhanaPresentIntroduced Planted Clayton et al., 2014
GuineaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
LibyaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
MadagascarPresentIntroduced Planted Clayton et al., 2014
MayottePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
NigeriaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive Lavergne, 2006
RwandaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
SenegalPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014
SeychellesPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Foxcroft et al., 2008
TanzaniaPresent Planted
TogoPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedSoreng, 2000
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Chacón and Saborío, 2012
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
GrenadaWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
GuadeloupeWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
JamaicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003
MartiniqueWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
PanamaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Blundell et al., 2003
Saint LuciaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Daltry, 2009
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012St. Croix, St. John

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedSoreng, 2000
BrazilPresent Planted
-AlagoasPresentIntroducedFilgueiras, 2014Naturalized
-BahiaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras, 2014Naturalized
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2014
-GoiasPresentIntroducedFilgueiras, 2014Naturalized
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroducedFilgueiras, 2014Naturalized
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedFilgueiras, 2014
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedFilgueiras, 2014
-ParanaPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2014
-PernambucoPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2014
-PiauiPresentIntroducedI3N-Brasil, 2014
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2014
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras, 2014Naturalized
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedFilgueiras, 2014Naturalized
ColombiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
EcuadorPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008
French GuianaPresentIntroducedSoreng, 2000
GuyanaPresentIntroducedSoreng, 2000
PeruPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
SurinamePresentIntroducedSoreng, 2000
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedHokche et al., 2008

Oceania

Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2002
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 1979
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedFlorence et al., 2013
GuamPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
KiribatiPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive Herrera et al., 2010
NauruPresentIntroducedThaman et al., 1994
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive Edgar and Connor, 2000
NiuePresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2004
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2009
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
Solomon IslandsPresentNativePIER, 2014
TongaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2001
TuvaluPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentIntroducedMeyer, 2007

History of Introduction and Spread

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B. vulgaris was actively introduced throughout the tropics and subtropics during the nineteenth century, mostly to be used as a fencing plant, to control erosion, and to create plantations in order to commercialize its culms (PROTA, 2014). In Hawaii, B. vulgaris was introduced prior to 1800 from Southeast Asia (Motooka et al., 2003). In Puerto Rico, B. vulgaris was introduced at least 150 years ago also from Southeast Asia (Francis 1993) and planted principally to control soil erosion along steep dirt roads. In the montane rain forests of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico, it was introduced in the 1930s and 1940s and it has led to present-day bamboo monocultures in numerous riparian areas (O’Connor et al., 2000).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of B. vulgaris is very high. This species has been actively introduced in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world where it can spread widely and rapidly vegetatively by rhizomes and culm fragments. Extensive clumps can be easily formed from single culms dispersed by water or as a waste associated with human activities (O’Connor et al., 2000; Blundell et al., 2003; Little and Skolmen, 2003). Therefore, its potential to expand and colonize new areas remains high.  

Habitat

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B. vulgaris can be found growing pantropically from low elevations up to 1200 m altitude on riverbanks, roadsides, wastelands, forest edges, secondary forest, and disturbed sites (Ohrnberger, 1999). It grows best, however, at lower altitudes; above 1000 m, culms become smaller in length and diameter. Along rivers and lakes it grows in almost permanently humid conditions, but it also grows in areas with more severe, dry conditions where the plants become completely defoliated. It is frost hardy to -3°C. In South-East Asia the green-culm plants are widely naturalized on river banks, road sides, wastelands and open ground. B. vulgaris thrives under a wide range of moisture and soil conditions.

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

B. vulgaris is a hexaploid species. The chromosome number reported for this species ranges from 2n = 52 to 2n = 72 (Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995; Li et al., 2001). 

Reproductive Biology

B. vulgaris blooms only once and flowering is gregarious. After many years, plants growing together flower simultaneously, produce seeds, and then die. Like most other grasses, bamboos have inconspicuous flowers, usually light brown or straw-coloured, which are probably wind-pollinated (Little and Skolmen, 2003). 

Environmental Requirements

B. vulgaris grows best at lower altitudes (below 1200 m altitude) in areas with annual rainfall ranging from 1500 to 3800 mm (Francis, 1993). It grows under a wide range of environmental conditions, growing in almost permanently humid conditions along rivers and lakes, but also in areas with a severe dry season, where the plants may become completely defoliated. It is partially tolerant to waterlogged and salinity conditions, but B. vulgaris grows best in well-drained soils with pH ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 (Francis, 1993; Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995). It is frost hardy down to –3°C (PROTA, 2014).  

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30 -29 0 1200

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -3
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 40
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 25 50
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 10 30

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration08number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall700mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Summer
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Cryptotermes brevis Herbivore All Stages not specific
Dinoderus Herbivore All Stages not specific
Podischnus agenor Herbivore Seedlings not specific
Sarocladium oryzae Pathogen All Stages not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Diseases of B. vulgaris include leaf blight (Cercospora sp.), basal culm rot (Fusarium sp.), culm sheath rot (Glomerella cingulata), leaf rust (Kweilingia divina) and leaf spots (Dactylaria sp. and Glomerella cingulata). A serious disease of this species in Bangladesh is bamboo blight, caused by Sarocladium oryzae. Harvested culms are very vulnerable to attack of powder-post beetles (Dinoderus spp.). Termite damage can be serious, especially of harvested culms in contact with ground (Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995; PROTA, 2014).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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B. vulgaris spreads often by rhizomes, culm division and branch cuttings and more rarely by seeds (Francis, 1993; Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995; PROTA, 2014). It has a remarkably easy vegetative propagation. Culm fragments are often thrown away after being used and if they have been freshly cut from a living plant, the piece of culm may survive and produce roots and establish new growth. Clumps may also be established from pieces of culms used for fences, props, stakes and posts set on river banks for mooring boats (Francis, 1993; Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995; PROTA, 2014). Culms and rhizome fragments can be easily dispersed by water, soil movement, and human activities (O’Connor et al., 2000).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
ForageLeaves consumed by goats Yes Yes PROTA, 2014
Habitat restoration and improvementPlanted in disturbed areas for erosion control Yes Yes Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995
Hedges and windbreaks Yes Yes Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995
HorticultureExtensively cultivated Yes Yes Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995
Industrial purposesStems widely used commercially Yes Yes Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995
Medicinal useTraditional African medicine Yes Yes PROTA, 2014
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995
People foragingYoung shoots are edible Yes Yes Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995
Timber tradeStems used as building materials Yes Yes Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesRhizomes Yes Yes Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995
WaterCulm fragments, rhizomes Yes Yes O'Connor et al., 2000

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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B. vulgaris grows forming extensive monospecific stands which outcompete native vegetation by shading native plants and monopolizing resources (Blundell et al., 2003). This species also represents a serious environmental concern because it has the potential to invade native forests moving along riparian zones (Okutomi et al. 1996). It also disrupts the successional process in disturbed areas, secondary forests, and forest edges in coastal and riparian forests (Blundell et al., 2003).

In many Caribbean islands (i.e., Jamaica, Tobago, and Puerto Rico), B. vulgaris has colonized many streams that intersect roads and formed monocultures in some riparian areas (Blundell et al., 2003; Kairo et al., 2003). A study performed in riparian areas of the Luquillo Mountains (Puerto Rico), showed that introduced bamboos may affect native stream macro-invertebrates through alteration of food resources and habitat typically provided by leaf inputs from native, mixed-species riparian forests. This study showed that alien bamboo leaf fall exceeds that of native mixed forests, and where bamboo occurs in riparian zones, bamboo leaves undergo rapid leaching of elements during aquatic decay (O’Connor et al., 2000). In Hawaii, B. vulgaris is considered a noxious species because it takes over and shades out all other vegetation in the wet areas where it grows (Little and Skolmen, 2003).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • 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
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Conflict
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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B. vulgaris is often planted as an ornamental, windbreak, support and hedge plant. The culms are also the main material for the bamboo furniture industry and they also produce good quality pulp to make paper (Francis, 1993). The culms are used in boats for masts, rudders, outriggers, boating poles, as carrying poles, for fencing and props.

Split stems are made into baskets, fences, roofs, and roof tiles. The stems are also used as fuel. In Sri Lanka and El Salvador, culms are used as a building material in temporary constructions and to support and protect walls. They are less suitable for long-term construction as they are very susceptible to powder-post beetle attack.

The very young shoots are edible and sold as a vegetable mainly in Asia. This species is also used in traditional Asian and African medicine where young shoots are boiled and used to treat hepatitis and measles. Leaves of B. vulgaris are also used as forage and animal fodder (Dransfield and Widjaja, 1995; PROTA, 2014).

Plants of the yellow culm group (B. vulgaris var. striata) and the Buddha's belly bamboo group (B. vulgaris 'Wamin') are the most used as ornamentals.

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization

General

  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Cane
  • Fibre
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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Furniture

Roundwood

  • Building poles
  • Posts
  • Stakes

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Exterior fittings
  • Fences
  • For light construction

Woodware

  • Industrial and domestic woodware

Prevention and Control

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B. vulgaris is very difficult to control. The recommended method is cutting down all stems and culms and spraying the regrowth with herbicides such as glyphosate or amitrole (PIER, 2014). In forests and other non-cropland, imazapyr or glyphosate plus fluazifop are effective (Motooka et al., 2003).

References

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Contributors

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26/03/14 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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