Herbs & Plants

Bambusa blumeana

Botanical Name: Bambusa blumeana
Family: Poaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Genus: Bambusa
Species: B. blumeana

*Schizostachyum durie Rupr.
*Ischurochloa stenostachya (Hack.) Nakai
*Bambusa teba Miq.
*Bambusa stenostachya Hack.
*Bambusa spinosa Blume ex Nees
*Bambusa pungens Blanco
*Bambusa blumeana var. luzonensis
*Arundarbor pungens (Blanco) Kuntze
*Arundarbor blumeana (Schult.) Kuntze

Common Names: Spiny bamboo or Thorny bamboo.
This bamboo is known locally as: kawayang tinik in the Philippines, buluh duri in Malay and tre gai or tre la ngan in Vietnam.

Habitat: Bambusa blumeana is native to Indonesian and Malaysia, but has been widely introduced in Southeast Asia; Thailand – Philippines – Vietnam – China – Japan. It is often found on heavy soils and on marginal land at elevations up to 300 metres, it grows well along river banks, hill slopes and freshwater creeks and tolerates flooding..

Bambusa blumeana is an evergreen Bamboo growing to 20 m (65ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a fast rate.It is a Tropical/Subtropical densely clumping bamboo. Leaves are lance-shaped . Shoots are edible and consumed as a vegetable.


Bambusa blumeana is a thorny bamboo with slightly arching green culms of 15-25 m tall. The internodes are 25-35 cm long, with 8-15 cm in diameter and an average wall thickness of 2-3 cm. At the base of the culms, wall thickness is mostly solid, especially in dry areas or poor soils. Lower culm nodes show a ring of aerial roots, with a gray or brown ring below and above the sheath scar.

Branches usually occur from the middle of the culm to the top, and have several to many clustered branches with 1-3 larger dominant branches that are markedly longer and thicker. Branches from the lower nodes are solitaire and densely interwoven with tough, sharp, curved thorns.

Leaves are lance-shaped and on average 10-20 cm long and 12-25 mm wide.

A plant of the lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 300 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 – 32c, but can tolerate 8 – 37°c. It can be killed by temperatures of -1c or lower. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 – 4,000mm, but tolerates 1,000 – 5,000mm. Plants grow best on heavier, fertile soils. Intolerant of saline soils. Tolerant of occasional inundation of the soil.Prefers a pH in the range 5 – 6.5, tolerating 4.5 – 7. Planted culm cuttings at first send up thin shoots and culms are produced only after about 3 years. The number and size of the culms produced increases yearly until the clump reaches maturity. A planted cutting develops into a harvestable clump in 6 – 8 years. A mature clump (containing 10 – 40 culms) may develop about 30 shoots per year of which only about one-third to one-fourth reaches maturity because of diseases and pests, wind damage, and shortage of water and nutrients. New shoots emerge during the rainy season and can be harvested for food after 7 – 15 days. 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. Culms reach about full height in approximately 5 months, which means for the larger culms (growing to 25 metres or more) there is a daily height increase of about 17 cm. The most rapid growth usually occurs near the end of the growth period in the latter part of the rainy season. In that period, daily height increase may reach 45 cm on average. The harvesting of culms depends on the intended end use but should preferably be effected in the dry season. For handicraft purposes, 1-year-old culms can be taken. For construction purposes, 3-year-old culms are suitable. Culms are cut 2 – 3 metres above the ground, just above the dense growth of spiny branches. The remaining basal portion should be cut back close to the ground within 6 months of the harvest. In order to ensure sustained yield, the number of culms that can be cut annually should not exceed 60% of the standing mature culms in the clump. About 6 – 7 edible shoots can be harvested per clump per year. Managed (cleaned) clumps produce an average of 8 mature culms per year (800 – 1200/ha), whilst unmanaged (uncleaned) clumps only 5 (500 – 750/ha). Removal of the basal spiny thickets and basal parts of harvested culms makes access easier, promotes the development of healthy shoots and reduces the number of deformed culms. 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. Spiny bamboo flowers very rarely, perhaps once in 20 – 30 years.

Edible Uses: Young shoots are eaten as a vegetable, usually boiled and shredded. The young shoots are harvested as they emerge from the soil.

Other Uses:
Agroforestry Uses: It is often planted along water courses to prevent soil erosion[310. Planted around farmhouses as wind-breaks, in fields as living fences or to mark boundaries. Other Uses The culms walls are up to 3 cm thick; the internodes are usually hollow, 25 – 60cm long. They are used as scaffolding in construction, for basketry (baskets are very popular), furniture, parquets, concrete reinforcements, kitchen utensils, chopsticks, hats and toys. They are suitable for making paper. They are also used as firewood if wood is scarce. The natural durability of untreated culms is poor: 1 – 3 years outdoors, 2 – 5 years indoors, 6 months or less in seawater.

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


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