Monday, August 4, 2014

Hawaii: Hawaiian golden bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris)

Bambusa vulgaris comes in several incarnations: all green straight culms; all green culms with swollen internodes (cultivar ‘Wamin’); all yellow culms with very thin green lines (cultivar ‘Kimmei’ or ‘Aureovariegata’); and all yellow culms with barcode-like green strips (cultivar ‘Vittata’, aka painted bamboo).

A lot of the “generic” green bamboo I saw from the car driving around the Big Island of Hawaii was the green variety of Bambusa vulgaris. It’s still beautiful but not as distinctive as its yellow sibling. Hawaiian golden bamboo, the yellow variety of Bambusa vulgaris, has got to be the most commonly planted landscaping bamboo in all of Hawaii. Since its culms are so visible, especially when new, it’s easy to spot it from quite a distance. A clump can grow to 50 ft. in height, with culms attaining a diameter of 4 inches when mature.

And what a beauty Hawaiian golden bamboo is. I tried to photograph it whenever I came across it.

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Kalani Retreat Center

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Kalani Retreat Center

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Kalani Retreat Center

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Maku’u Farmers Market

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Maku’u Farmers Market

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Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

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Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

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Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

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Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

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ʻAkaka Falls

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Liliʻuokalani Park, Hilo

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Liliʻuokalani Park, Hilo

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Liliʻuokalani Park, Hilo

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Hawi, North Kohala

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Hawi, North Kohala; check out the size of the clump in relation to the coconut palms

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Hawi, North Kohala

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Hawi, North Kohala

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Hawi, North Kohala

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Hawi, North Kohala

Bambusa vulgaris may be the most commonly planted tropical bamboo in the world, but its range is strictly limited to frost-free climates. Unlike other members of the genus, Bambusa vulgaris won’ t tolerate temperatures much below freezing. That’s a real shame because I would love to have a clump in front of our house instead of the much less refined Bambusa oldhamii growing there now.

2 comments:

  1. You're so good with the camera Gerhard, your photos looks great! It's not always easy taking photos of bamboos. And the location and garden accessories ain't too bad either :)

    At least you're able to grow Bambusa oldhamii in your location, ours we can't from this genus at all (some root hardy yes but what use if they get cut back every year).

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    1. Thanks, guys! I agree, bamboo is a hard plant to photograph, especially large clumps.

      If I'd had more time, I would have tried to visit a bamboo nursery in Hawi that doesn't seem to be open to the public (http://bamboonursery.com/), but there just weren't enough days in our vacation.

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