Herbs & Plants

Bambusa atra

Botanical Name: Bambusa atra
Family: Poaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Genus: Neololeba
Species: N. atra

*Neololeba atra (Lindl.) Widjaja
*Arundarbor atra (Lindl.) Kuntze
*Arundarbor picta (Lindl.) Kuntze
*Arundarbor prava (Lindl.) Kuntze
*Arundarbor tenuis (Munro) Kuntze
*Arundinaria cobonii F.M.Bailey
*Arundinaria papuana K.Schum

Common Names: Clumping Bamboo. Long pipe bamboo.

Habitat:Bambusa atra is native to southeast Asia – Philippines, Indonesia (Molukus) to New Guinea and northern Australia.It grows in It is a tropical plant. It grows in the lowlands and usually in wet soil. It can grow on limestone. River banks, margins of disturbed lower montane forest, and on lower hill slopes, often on limestone; at low elevation.

Bambusa atra is an evergreen Bamboo. It is densely or loosely tufted, sympodial bamboo. Culm up to 8 m tall, 2-4 cm in diameter near the base, wall relatively thin; internodes 35-70 cm long, sometimes only 3 long ones are found in one culm, upper part covered by appressed brown hairs when young, otherwise glabrous and smooth; nodes not prominent. Branches 2-3 at each node in the upper part of the culm, the primary one dominant. Culm sheath thin, 12-18 cm × 8-10 cm, pale brown hairy on the back; blade erect, broadly ovate-lanceolate, 8-15 cm × 4-7 cm, rounded at the base, attached to the sheath by a rather narrow base, hairy towards the base adaxially; ligule 1 mm long with a fringe of 5-6 mm long stiff hairs; auricles 12 mm long, extending horizontally on each side of the base of the blade, bearing rather long bristles along the edge. Leaf blade oblong-lanceolate, 30-60 cm × 5-10 cm, base truncate to cordate; sheath glabrous; ligule short, with long bristles; auricles up to 3 mm long, bearing bristles. Inflorescence usually terminating a leafy branch, comprising groups of pseudospikelets; spikelet laterally compressed, up to 20 mm × 4.5 mm, consisting of 3 glumes, containing up to 12 florets; lemma with long, curved, pointed tip. Caryopsis not known.

B. atra is a rather variable species in which several varieties have been distinguished. In the Moluccas two forms are distinguished: plants with green culms (“loleba putih”) and plants with purplish-green culms (“loleba hitam”). Plants growing on wet soils and along river banks have longer culm internodes than plants growing on poor or dry soils. B. atra flowers continuously, and does not die off after flowering.

B. atra has several relatives which are also found in the eastern part of Indonesia and throughout New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, such as B. amahussana Lindley, B. forbesii (Ridley) Holttum, B. hirsuta Holttum and B. solomonensis Holttum. They share similar features such as large leaf blades, inflorescences terminating leafy branches, laterally compressed spikelets and lemmas with long, curved, pointed tips. A critical investigation is needed to find out the taxonomic relationships of these species. It is difficult to differentiate species using herbarium specimens, but in the field they can readily be distinguished from each other.


Climate: subtropical to tropical, tropical highlands. Humidity: humid. Bamboos have an interesting method of growth. Each plant produces a number of new stems annually – these stems grow to their maximum height in their first year of growth, subsequent growth in the stem being limited to the production of new side branches and leaves. In the case of some mature tropical species the new stem could be as much as 30 metres tall, with daily increases in height of 30cm or more during their peak growth time. This makes them some of the fastest-growing species in the world. Bamboos in general are usually monocarpic, living for many years before flowering, then flowering and seeding profusely for a period of 1 – 3 years before usually dying. This species, however, is reported to flower regularly in cultivation without dying, though these specimens do not set seed. Carbon Farming – Cultivation: minor global crop. Management: managed multistem.

Edible Uses: Edible Portion: Shoots, Cereal, Seeds.

Other uses:
The thin-walled culm is used locally in basketry and other handicrafts. The culm is used for making water pipes, arrow heads and as a casual drinking vessel. Strips of the culms are used as binding material in roofings, fish traps and screens. The dead canes of this species are useful when lighting camp fires, even in wet weather. Carbon Farming – Industrial Crop: biomass. Other Systems: strip intercrop, multistrata.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only.


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