Monday, 25 May 2009

Marvelous Bamboo;

Bambusa; its many uses.

This is a fairly long post about bamboo. I have only scratched the surface for information. It will play an even bigger role in the future for a sustainable eco friendly material. Perhaps one day we drive in Bamboo cars powered by water!







My daughter and son in law have planted many clumping Bamboos in their garden. It is amazing how quickly they grow. Bamboo comes in many sizes. It looks majestic, graceful, elegant; it is hard to find a word which would not suit to describe this marvelous plant in every aspect.
A few of the many they have planted as ornamentales;
Timor black
China gold
Budda's belly
Ghost Bamboo and many more.

Growth
Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth; it has been measured surging skyward as fast as 121 cm (47.6 inches) in a 24-
hour period,[6] and can also reach maximal growth rate exceeding one meter (39 inches) per hour for short periods of time. Many prehistoric bamboos exceeded heights of 75 meters (250 feet). Primarily growing in regions of warmer climates during the Cretaceous, vast fields existed in what is now Asia.

Unlike trees, all bamboos grow to full height and girth in a single growing season of 3–4 months. During this first year the young shoots strike skyward supported by photosynthesis from the rest of the clump with no time to sprout their own branches and leaves.
Over the next year the pulpy wall of each culm slowly dries and hardens, sprouting branches and leaves during the second year from juvenile sheathes that form from each node. Over the following year the culm hardens still further shedding its juvenile sheaths and commencing its life as a fully mature culm. over the next 2–5 years depending on species, fungus and mould begin to form on the outside of the culm, eventually penetrating and overcoming the culm so that by around 5 – 8 years depending on species and climate the culms begin to collapse and decay.
This brief life means culms are ready for harvest and suitable for use in construction from 3-5 or 7 years.

Bambusa is one of the common species used to create the pulp and yarns that go in to clothing and textiles. Bamboo has a unique and naturally occurring anti-microbial agent called "bamboo kun". This gives the bamboo fibers inherent antibacterial properties that help fight odors. Other fabrics have to apply chemicals to achieve this. In addition to the antibacterial characteristics, bamboo fabrics have other unique benefits that make it really special:• Soft and luxuriously silky like cashmere – even softer than Pima cotton - you have to touch it!• Natural UV protection (blocks 98% harmful rays)• Thermal and breathable – this means you stay warmer when it's cold and cooler when it's hot (2-3° cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter)• Absorbs and wicks away moisture – bamboo cloth is highly absorbent, up to four times more than cotton• Anti-static• Strong and durable• Hypo-allergenic• 100% biodegradable, decomposes naturally (does not produce methane gasses when decomposing)

Medicine
Bamboo is used in Chinese medicine for treating infections.It is also used for healing. It is also a low calorie source of potassium. It has also been known for its sweet taste and good source of nutrients and protein. In
Ayurveda, the Indian system of traditional medicine, the silicious concretion found in the culms of the bamboo stem is called banslochan. It is known as tabashir or tawashir in Unani-Tibb the Indo-Persian system of Medicine. In English this concretion is called "bamboo manna". This concretion is said to be a tonic for the respiratory diseases. This concretion, which was earlier obtained from Melocanna bambusoides is very hard to get now and has been largely replaced by synthetic silcic acid. In most Indian literature, Bambusa arundinacea is described as the source of bamboo manna. (Puri, 2003).

Besides its use as a construction material, it is also used for fencemaking, bridges, toilets, walking sticks, canoes, tableware, decorative artwork carving, furniture, chopsticks, food steamers, toys, bicycles, hats, and martial arts weaponry, including fire arrows, flame throwers and rockets. Also, abaci and various musical instruments such as the dizi, xiao, shakuhachi, palendag, jinghu, angklung, it can also be used in building tree forts that can hold a normal child's body weight. The Bamboo Organ of Las Piñas, Philippines has pipes made of bamboo culms. Bamboo is the traditional material used for fly fishing rods.
When bamboo is harvested for wood, care is needed to select mature stems that are several years old, as first-year stems, although full sized, are not fully developed and are not as strong as more mature stems.
Bamboo has gained increasing popularity in the culinary world as a material for cutting boards, as they are hard enough to withstand years of knife abuse, yet more forgiving to the knife blade, causing less damage to the edged utensils over time.
Most recently, Smock, a letterpress print shop in Syracuse, New York has created a completely sustainable bamboo paper. Free of pesticides or fertilizer and is harvested from areas in Thailand where no traditional or civil rights are violated.

Bamboo can also be used in IT and electronics products. In 2008, Taiwanese hardware producer
Asus launched the first ever laptop with an outer casing made from bamboo.[18] The laptop is marketed in France as being écolo.

Soft bamboo shoots, stems, and leaves are the major food source of the Giant Panda of China.

Source Wikipedia and others.
Photos TS.

I hope you enjoyed to read about Bamboo. Have a nice day.

32 comments:

Cynthia said...

Bamboo grows wild here in Puerto Rico...sometimes it can overtake the land. I love it though...I just love the sound of bamboo in the wind. Especially the fluttery shake and then the creek when two poles rub. Interesting information. Thanks for posting it. I hope we do find many more uses for bamboo -I think it makes beautiful furnature, plates and cutting boards.<3

D'Rimba said...

I love bamboo plant so much...

Bonnie Bonsai said...

I feel honoured as an expat Filipino of your mentioned of the Las Pinas Bamboo Organ. I saw it in real while we roamed places when I was there. At that time, it was undergoing renovation, so we could not request to listen to the music played from the said organ.

Bamboo indeed has many uses. Infact, at one stage of our life being nomad due to the nature of my father's job, we lived in a Bamboo house. Everything made of bamboo from the pillars to the roof. The window, the floors, the frame, the walls, the kitchen stove, the kitchen sink, all bamboos. The bed, the chair, the table ... to the point that even the food was from bamboo (shoots).

Pity in those days, we didn't have camera. And for some reason, I don't know where our family albums are now. Sorry state...indeed!

As ever, I am delighting to your very interesting write.

Prospero said...

It can also be noted that flowering and seed production is a pretty rare event, making it difficult to get viable seed. I know that bamboo in the Phyllostachys genus (Moso-chiku - Phyllostachys edulis) is also eaten (young shoots). I'd sure like a bamboo laptop (tasty or not).

Mo said...

I adore bamboo. It always evokes tropical paradise for me! I would love some one day, but probably not here in the desert.

Titania said...

Cynthia, I know what you mean when you say Bamboo can overtake the land. Here we plant the clumping one which is slower in expanding as it does not make rhizhomes.

D'Rimba you must have wonderful Bamboo plants in your country.

Bonnie, I wish I could live in a Bamboo home! Unfortunately photos get blurry or lost. We are so lucky today to have digicams and PCs.

Prospero, also from cuttings it is difficult to propagate. I think most are propagated by tissue culture. They are quite expensive to buy here.

Mo, perhaps not, but an options could be a smallish one in pot. They are very decorative.

Tatyana said...

Hi Titania and thank you for this post! So many interesting facts! I want to wear bamboo clothes!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hello Titania : )
People might be surprised we can grow bamboo here (Ontario) even with our harsh winters.
I bought two containers of Green Panda bamboo last year and placed them in two different spots .. I'm hoping they will put on some good tall growth this year and add privacy with beauty to my garden !
Great post on the many uses of bamboo : )

Rowena... said...

I was actually thinking about growing some in our yard but at the rate they grow...not sure if I'd be able to contain them within a certain amount of area space. I like the idea of having the poles to use as stakes in the garden, but my earliest memories of bamboo come in the form of a filipino dance called tinikling. Back in Hawaii it was often joked as the ankle-breaking dance, and let me tell you, getting tripped up between the poles was none too pleasant!

sweet bay said...

Very interesting post. We have a wild native bamboo here that I have to admit I'm not too crazy about, when it gets into the garden -- it's a runner and quite strong! The birds love it, as cover for when they get water.

Fuchsienrot said...

Hallo Titania,
das ist ein sehr interessanter und informativer Post. Mit Bambus habe ich mich bisher noch nie näher beschäftigt, daher war das meiste ganz neu für mich - tolle Gewächse!
LG
Angelika

Pia K said...

How interesting! Nature is, as always amazing. I know that people's uncaring harvesting of bamboo threatens the gentle giant panda, I do hope more planting of bamboo can save them from extinction. I love bamboo shots in food, but for the above reason I very rarely eat them nowadays.

I'd love to try the bamboo yarn and that laptop casing sounds great!

NatureStop said...

We really enjoyed your imformative post.Would love to try out some bamboo fabrics...specially with the heat here in Oman:)

MedaM said...

Bamboo is really amazing plant. It is interesting that every part of it can be used for something. Magnificent, indeed! Thanks for this beautiful and informative post.

Janie said...

Interesting to learn more about bamboo. Sounds like an eco-friendly material that we should make better use of.

Raffi said...

I didn't find your email address, but wanted to let you know you can add a search box for a plant database on the side of your blog very easily by going to: http://www.plants.am/wiki/Plants.am_search_box

It's a wikipedia type site just for gardening and plants.

Dogbert said...

Be carefull with bamboo,
bamboo can cause severe damage in the garden if left unchecked

D'Rimba said...

Thanks my dear friend, everytime I always try to renew my home decoration. I love arts and poem. I wish I can be a good writer one day.

Barbara said...

Bambus ist tatsächlich eine speziell schöne Pflanze, aber ich möchte nie eine in meinem Garten. Einesteils passt sie nicht in unsere Gegend, bzw. in die Art unseres Gartens und dann habe ich gesehen, welch Unheil er trotz Sperre anrichten kann. Ich mag das spezielle Rauschen der Blätter und vorallem auch die verschieden grün, gelb bis schwarz farbigen "Stängel". Wenn sich mein Mann mit seinem Wunsch nach einem asiatischen Gartenteil hätte durchsetzen können ;-) , dann stünden jetzt bestimmt auch ein paar Sorten in unserem Garten.
Herzliche Grüsse, Barbara

Sai said...

Nice write up.

HappyMouffetard said...

Hi Titania, fascinating stuff! I love the sound that bamboo makes as the wind blows through it- soothing, and helps cover traffic noise. I, too, like the idea of bamboo clothes.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Trudi, my region is Bamboo country and we use so many things made of bamboo. Fascinating read about its uses. The laptop sounds interesting. I have the slim variety here and they're very good for stakes in the garden.

Sunita said...

What an interesting post, Trudi! I loved reading it. Bamboo is one of my favourite plants. I love its elegance and I love its flexibility. Perfect!

Rajesh said...

Snaps are fantastic once again. Very informative post.

A World in a PAN said...

I love babmoo, as you say there are many uses for this plant. But I have heard that it is very difficult to stop it from invading a whole garden, so tell your daughter and son-in-law to watch out!

Hort Log said...

After witnessing their widespread use by natives in SE Asia, I became a bamboo fan too, although I do not grow any. Would love to grow the black bamboo though ....

fishing guy said...

Titania: What a neat post loaded with info. Bamboo sounds like it grows faster then weeds.

Andrea said...

Hallo, sehr interessanter Post über Bambus. Allerdings hätte ich Angst, ihn ohne Sperre hier wachsen zu lassen. LG aus Deutschland, andrea

Titania said...

Thank you for all the interest and comments. As many are concerned about the Bamboo growing out of its shoes...these are all "clumping Bamboos". I have seen them after many years and they were still neat in a clump. Some can grow extremely high. Anyway it needs a big place to grow certain bamboo. Alternately there are small bamboos available.

Nicole said...

I am such a fan of bamboo and of course the many uses and its importance in some countries is well highlighted here. I recently got elegant bamboo blinds and bamboo rugs for my home. When Bonnie spoke of the kitchen stove, the kitchen sink, all bamboos, that is mind boggling...

Titania said...

Nicole thank you for your visit. I agree. The big clumps, tall and stately, the stems in colours of golden yellow, ghostly white, or black or striped it is an awesome plant with so many different uses as well.

Ann said...

My people in China depended on Bamboo. there is a use for bamboo for everything.

There are a lot of bamboo here in NZ too.