Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bamboos in Sydney, Australia

Australia has been on my mind all week. My wife is currently in Sydney visiting friends, and I’ve been thinking fondly of the time all of us spent there in late December 2009 and early January 2010.

I originally wrote the following for a travel blog I kept during our trip. I’m reposting it here because it might be of interest to other bamboo aficionados.

This page contains photos of the bamboo varieties I saw in Sydney, especially in the Royal Botanic Gardens which has mature clumps of many tropical bamboos. The descriptions in italics are from the American Bamboo Society’s Species Source List.


Height: 25 ft
Culm diameter: 1.5”

“Each node bears a large number of branches down to the culm base, making a dense hedge. Hardiest of the Bambusa, grown down to 12F by some in otherwise very favourable sites.”

Bambusa multiplex with bamboo fence


Height: 70 ft
Culm diameter: 4”

“A strong growing bamboo with very straight culms forming loose clumps. Also known as Dendrocalamus membranaceus.”

Bambusa membranacea Bambusa membranacea Bambusa membranacea 

BAMBUSA OLDHAMII (Giant timber bamboo)

Height: 55 ft
Culm diameter: 4”

“The most common giant tropical bamboo grown in the U.S. Culms straight and erect with relatively short branches. Leaves are rather wide.”

 Bambusa oldhamii Bambusa oldhamii Bambusa oldhamii  Bambusa oldhamii 


Height: 30 ft
Culm diameter: 1.3”

“Tight clumps. An extremely handsome plant that arches gracefully. The thin-walled culms are used for weaving. Culm more slender than the typical B. textilis, nodding top, graceful foliage.”

Bambusa textilis 'Gracilis' Bambusa textilis 'Gracilis' Bambusa textilis 'Gracilis' Bambusa textilis 'Gracilis' 

BAMBUSA VENTRICOSA (Buddha’s belly bamboo)

Height: 55 ft
Culm diameter: 2.3”

“It becomes a dwarf with swollen internodes when grown in pots under dry conditions. In the ground it reverts to a giant with zigzag culms and branches.

(NOTE: The specimen below showed no dwarfism whatsoever!)

Bambusa ventricosa


Height: 50 ft
Culm diameter: 4”

“Common throughout the tropical world. Open clump, culms spaced a foot or two apart. Culm cuttings root very easily. Used for banana props. Similar to the species, golden yellow culms with green vertical stripes that look like drip marks. A very popular ornamental. Potted culm cuttings do not always survive.”

Bambusa vulgaris 'Vittata' Bambusa vulgaris 'Vittata' Bambusa vulgaris 'Vittata' Bambusa vulgaris 'Vittata' Bambusa vulgaris 'Vittata' 


Height: 65 ft
Culm diameter: 8”

“From southern China. The large, dark green leaves are 10 to 16 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. Light green culms striped with dark green.”

Dendrocalamus latiflorus 'Mei-nung' Dendrocalamus latiflorus 'Mei-nung' Dendrocalamus latiflorus 'Mei-nung' Dendrocalamus latiflorus 'Mei-nung'


Height: 30 ft
Culm diameter: 2”

“Tight clump. It has long (up to an inch) culm leaf ligules, narrow leaves. Light gray-green culms, white stripes.”

Gigantochloa albociliata


Height: 50 ft
Culm diameter: 3.5”

“From Java and Sumatra. Brown to black culms striped faint green. Dark green leaves. Sheath blades reflexed.”

Gigantochloa atroviolacea Gigantochloa atroviolacea Gigantochloa atroviolacea Gigantochloa atroviolacea


Height: 30 ft
Culm diameter: 2”

“Culms turn jet black after the first 6 months to one year. Popular because of its graceful habit and the sharp accent of its culm color. Said to grow larger in northern climates.”

Phyllostachys nigra


Height: 4 ft
Culm diameter: 0.2”

“Dwarf variegated bamboo. Leaves keep their white stripes through the year, softly hairy on the lower surface. Aka P. variegatus.”



Height: 40 ft
Culm diameter: 3”

“One of the most graceful bamboos known. Culm walls very thick, almost solid. Sheath persistent. In monasteries in Thailand.” 

Thyrsostachys siamensis Thyrsostachys siamensis  Thyrsostachys siamensis

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