Interesting facts, uses, and types of Bamboo

Interesting facts, uses, and types of Bamboo
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  • Bamboo plant is a woody-stem grass and is one of the tallest species of the Poaceae family.
  • It is an evergreen, perennial plant.
  • Bamboo can reach up to 25-65 feet (8-20 m).
  • The stems are hollow and can reach up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter.
  • The plants can live up to 100 years.
  • They usually flower at the end of their lives, produce seeds, and die.
  • Bamboo can be propagated by seeds or vegetatively.
  • It has a very fast-growing rhythm and can produce large amounts of biomass in a short period of time.
  • It covers more than 40 million hectares globally.
  • They have been cultivated and used by humans for more than 6,000 years.
  • Bamboo plants usually form dense forests. Due to the allelopathic compounds that some bamboo species produce and their dense canopy, Bamboo can “drοwn” other plant species.
  •  There are more than 1,700 species (herbs, shrubs, trees, and climbers) and 2 main types of bamboo: the sympodial or clumping (largely tropical) and the monopodial or running bamboos (largely warm temperate). Their main difference is that the plants of the first category grow as a cluster in one spot and expands very slowly from one place to another, while the second, thanks to their thin rhizomes, can quickly expand over long distances.
  • They thrive in tropical and subtropical regions, with 1500-3800 mm of rainfalls (more than 700 mm of water are on average necessary annually).
  • Most species are tolerant to a wide range of moisture and soil conditions.
  • It can be found in riverbanks, wastelands, roadsides, disturbed sites, forest edges, and secondary forests.
  • Bamboo can grow up to 1200 m altitude, but the plant prefers altitudes below 800 m. Species like Sinarundinaria spp, Arundinaria recemosa and Thamnocalamus aristatus can grow in a altitude of even 3000 m.
  • The plant requires well-drained soils.
  • The plant can tolerate temperatures as low as -3 and -5 °C (22 °F) and up to 50 °C (122 °F).
  • Bambusa vulgaris, or common Bamboo, is the most commonly encountered-cultivated Bamboo worldwide, while Bambusa bambos is considered a great option for construction purposes. 
  • Some species originate from Asia (64% come from Southeast Asia), Africa, or America.
  • Depending on the bamboo species, the plants can be used as a building material, as ornamental or/and for biofuel (like bioethanol), fabric and paper production. Some species even have edible bamboo shoots that animals and humans can consume.
  • It is considered a plant with an important ecological role since it can reduce soil erosion, store large quantities of carbon and CO2 (the high ability for carbon sequestration), absorb wastewater, and alleviate metal toxicity from the soil. Finally, Bamboo has some health benefits and can be used to control diseases like diabetes, cholesterol, and hypertension.

References

Burley, J. (2004). Encyclopedia of forest sciences. Academic Press.      

Pandey, V. C., & Singh, D. P. (2020). Phytoremediation Potential of Perennial Grasses. Elsevier, p. 245-258

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/W220.pdf

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/8398#tosummaryOfInvasiveness

https://www.ijsrp.org/research-paper-0213/ijsrp-p14122.pdf

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This post is also available in: Ελληνικά

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