Botanical Name: Gigantochloa levis
Synonyms : Arundarbor levis (Blanco) Kuntze Bambusa levis Blanco Dendrocalamus curranii Gamble Gigantochloa heteroclada Stapf Gigantochloa scribneriana Merr.
Common Names: Bulo semilang, Buloh seremai, Bolo
Habitat: The plant is naturalized in the Philippines and cultivated there and in Borneo. It grows in secondary forest and abounds in and around towns and villages in the lowland.
Gigantochloa levis is an evergreen, clump-forming bamboo that can grow 15 – 20 metres tall. The thin-walled, erect, woody culms can be 9 – 13cm in diameter with internodes 20 – 45cm long; aerial roots are produced from the nodes. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
The plant is often cultivated in parts of southeast Asia, where it is known as a bamboo which yields good quality edible shoots and also long, straight canes. Production and trade of edible shoots and strong culms is locally important.
Grows reasonably well on a large range of sites, except where the soil is too sandy or too dry.
Five year old plants in a plantation started from cuttings each yielded an average of 9.4 culms around 10.4 metres tall and 11cm in diameter. The average number of young shoots produced by the plants the plants was around 6, which increased to 10 – 15 in their tenth year.
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. 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 pattern can vary – sometimes flowering is sporadic, with plants flowering annually and not dying; at other times it is gregarious with all the plants in a specific species coming into flower at the same time.
May be propagated through Seed but not normally used.
The plant is propagated only vegetatively, usually by rhizome or culm cuttings. For culm cuttings it is recommended to take pieces of about 50cm in length, including a well-developed branching node, and to plant it horizontally at 10cm depth. Cuttings are planted first in a nursery or, as documented in the Philippines, directly in the field, at the onset of the rainy season. The recommended spacing for a plantation is 6 – 7 metres x 7 metres.
Edible Uses: Young shoots – cooked. Of good quality.
Medicinal Uses: The juice of the stem, around 150ml, is taken to reduce body temperature.
The long, straight culms have a variety of traditional applications, being used in rough constructions; as framework; in the fishing industry, where they are used for making rafts, fish traps, outriggers and fish pens; as temporary water pipes; in fencing etc. They are also used in making modern furniture, are split for plaiting walls and are used in the handicraft industry. One Philippine study indicated that the canes are suitable as raw material for kraft pulps from the standpoint of pulp strength, pulp yield and acceptable level of silica content.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.