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Bamboos are a group of woody perennial evergreen plants in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Some of its members are giants, forming by far the largest members of the grass family.
There are 91 genera and about 1,000 species of bamboo. They are found in diverse climates, from cold mountains to hot tropical regions. They occur from Northeast Asia (at 50Â°N latitude in Sakhalin), south throughout East Asia west to the Himalaya, and south to northern Australia. They also occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the Americas from the southeast of the USA south to Chile, there reaching their furthest south anywhere, at 47Â°S latitude. Major areas with no native bamboos include Europe, north Africa, western Asia, northern North America, most of Australia, and Antarctica.
Many bamboos are popular in cultivation as garden plants. In cultivation, care needs to be taken of their potential for invasive behavior. They spread mainly through their roots and/or rhizomes, which can spread widely underground and send off new culms to break through the surface. There are two patterns for the spreading of bamboo, “clumping” (monopodial) and “running” (sympodial). Clumping bamboo species tend to spread underground slowly. Swimming bamboo species are highly variable in their tendency to spread; this is related to both the species and the soil and climate conditions. Some can send out runners several meters a year, while others can stay in the same general area for long periods. If neglected, they can be invasive over time and can cause problems by moving into adjacent areas. The reputation of bamboo as being highly invasive is often exaggerated, and situations where it has taken over large areas is often the result of years of untended or neglected plantings.
Once established as a grove, it is difficult to completely remove bamboo without digging up the entire network of underground rhizomes. If bamboo must be removed, an alternative to digging it up is to cut down the culms, and then repeatedly mow down new shoots as they arise, until the root system exhausts its energy supply and dies. If any leaves are allowed to photosynthesize the bamboo survives and will keep spreading.
There are two main ways to prevent the spread of running bamboo into adjacent areas. The first method is rhizome pruning or “edging”, which involves removing any rhizomes escaping the desired bamboo area. Hooks, shovels and picks are usual tools. The rhizomes are generally very close to the surface(just under a sod layer), so, if rhizome pruning is done twice a year, it will sever most, if not all, of the new growth. Some species may be deep running (beyond typical spade depth). These are much harder to control and deeper cuts will need to be made. Regular maintenance will indicate major growth directions and locations. Once the rhizomes are cut they should be removed. If any bamboo shoots come up outside of the bamboo area afterwards their presence indicates the precise location of the missed rhizome. The fibrous roots that radiate from the rhizomes do not grow up to be more bamboo so they stay in the ground.
The second way is by surrounding it with a physical barrier. Concrete and specially rolled HDPE plastic are usual materials. This is placed in a 60-90 cm (2-3 feet) deep ditch around the planting, and angled out at the top to direct the rhizomes to the surface. Strong rhizomes and tools can penetrate plastic barriers with relative ease, so great care must be taken. Bamboo in barriers is much more difficult to remove than free-spreading bamboo. Barriers and edging are unnecessary for clump forming bamboos. Clump forming bamboos may eventually need to have portions taken out if they get too large.
Edible bamboo shoots.The shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of bamboo, called zhÃº sÇ”n or simply sÇ”n in Chinese, are edible. They are used in numerous Asian dish and broth, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, both fresh and canned version. Bamboo shoot tips are called zhÃº sÇ”n jiÄn or simply sÇ”n jiÄn .
In Indonesia they are sliced thinly and then boiled with santan (thick coconut milk) and spices to make a dish named gulai rebung. Other recipes using bamboo shoots are [sayur lodeh]] (mixed vegetables in coconut milk) and lun pia (sometimes written lumpia: fried wrapped bamboo shoots with vegetables). Note that the shoots of some species contain toxins that need to be leached or boiled out before they can be eaten safely.
Pickled bamboo, used as a condiment, may also be made from the pith of the young shoots.
The sap of young stalks tapped during the rainy season may be fermented to make ulanzi (a sweet wine) or simply made into a soft drink. ZhÃºyÃ¨qÄ«ng jiÇ” is a green-coloured Chinese liquor that has bamboo leaves as one of its ingredients.
Bamboo leaves are also used as wrappers for zongzi, a steamed dumpling typical of southern China, which usually contains glutinous rice and other ingredients.
Bamboo is used in Chinese medicine for treating infections. It is also a low calorie source of potassium.
Bamboo leaves are aromatic,stimulant and tonic.They are useful in counteracting spasmodic disorders and prevent bleeding.They are also an effective aphrodisiac.
Stomach Disorders:Bamboo leaves are beneficial in the treatment of stomach disorders.Young shoots of bamboo tree are also very useful for this.
Diarrhoea: Bamboo leaves are used in the form of decoction to treat this disease.
Menstrual Disorders: A decoction of bamboo leaves promots and regulates the mensprual periods. A decoction of bamboo nodes stem is also useful for this purpose.
Wounds: A poultice of tender bamboo shoots is used for cleaning wounds and maggot-infested sores.Decoction of fresh bamboo leaves is applied as a medicine in such ulcers.
Respiratory Disorders: The tender bamboo shoots are useful in the treatment of this disease.The bamboo leaves are used in the killing of intestinal worms.,such as thread worms. It should be taken in the form of decoction.
Bamboos have thousands of other uses. It is used as most useful plant from the begining of human culture.
Help taken from:en.wikipedia.org