All About Bamboo


All About Bamboo

At Cariloha, we have a passion for bamboo, bamboo products, and sustainably using this natural resource. This fascinating plant has been around for thousands of years and is extremely versatile. Join us to learn all about this comfortable, useful, and environmentally friendly plant.

What Is Bamboo

The bamboo that we know today evolved from three different types of prehistoric grass: Bambuseae, Arundinarieae, and Olyreae. Bamboo typically grows in tropical, subtropical, and temperate zones across the world and can thrive in most environments apart from extremely cold climates.

There are roughly 1,000 known species of bamboo around the world but many experts believe there could be up to 1,600 different species growing in the wild. Bamboo is categorized as tall, tree-like grass and known to grow best in tropical and subtropical climates.

The Origins of Bamboo

While bamboo can grow in many places, its origins trace back almost 7,000 years ago to China during the Shang Dynasty. People were using bamboo in a variety of ways, including food, clothing, housing, transportation, musical instruments, and weapons. Before paper, the Chinese people wrote on bamboo strips, and much of what we know about early Chinese history is preserved thanks to these bamboo books.

Fun Bamboo Facts

Bamboo is a beautiful, fascinating plant that is loved around the world. Here are some interesting facts about bamboo.

  • Most bamboo plants only develop flowers after 65 or 120 years, making the flowers rarely seen.
  • Bamboo releases 30% more oxygen into the air and absorbs more carbon monoxide than other plants.
  • Bamboo is used in folk medicine to treat wounds and speed up healing.
  • Bamboo is an excellent replacement for wood since it can be harvested every three to five years, unlike wood, which is every 10 to 20 years.
  • Bamboo was the first plant to re-green after Hiroshima in 1954.
  • It truly is the miracle plant! Read on to learn more and be sure to watch our video, too.

    Common Bamboo Types

    There are many different types of bamboo and each one has different uses. Here are some common bamboo types, with facts about why they are unique, and how they are used throughout the world.

    Black Bamboo

    This is one of the most popular bamboo species due to its unique color and range of uses.

    Properties

    Black Bamboo needs plenty of sunlight and rich black soil to grow well. It can grow in various light conditions — anywhere from full sun to partial shade. Black bamboo has an extremely fast growth rate and can grow to be up to 35 ft. tall.

    Features

    The most unique feature of black bamboo is the black culms that form the stem. Culms start green and slowly turn black after about three years of growth. The beautiful dark color contrasts nicely with its green leaves, making it a popular choice within the landscaping industry.

    Origin

    Black Bamboo is native to the Hunan Province of China.

    Common Uses

    Black Bamboo is the most versatile species of bamboo and has a variety of uses, including:

  • Musical instruments
  • Black charcoal bread
  • Decor
  • Framing
  • Canes
  • Jewelry
  • Fencing
  • Medicinal — treatment of fevers, vomiting, and nosebleeds
  • Chinese Goddess

    This species of bamboo is known for its coppery-bronze stems and is commonly used for landscaping.

    Properties

    Chinese Goddess can grow up to 12 ft. tall and spread equally as wide. This species of bamboo has a moderate growth rate, is non-invasive, and grows well in containers and well-it indoor environments. Chinese Goddess Bamboo lives for approximately 10 years.

    Features

    Like Black Bamboo, Chinese Goddess Bamboo is known for its unique color attributes. The leaves on this bamboo start yellow in the spring before changing to light green color for the rest of the year. Chinese Goddess Bamboo also has a vibrant coppery-bronze stem that adds to the uniqueness of the plant.

    Origin

    Chinese Goddess Bamboo is native to Eastern Asia, specifically the area between the Eastern Himalayas to Southern China.

    Common Uses

    Chinese Goddess Bamboo is used for landscaping applications, including:

  • Privacy hedging
  • Mass planting
  • Container planting
  • Chinese Mountain

    Chinese Mountain Bamboo is among the rarest of bamboo species, partially due to its large leaves. This is also the strongest type of bamboo and its culms can’t be cut by hand.

    Properties

    Chinese Mountain Bamboo is a low-maintenance bamboo species that grows up to 26 ft. tall. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and has a fast growth rate.

    Features

    This bamboo species is notable for its grey/ green canes and deep roots that make it extremely strong and stable.

    Origin

    Chinese Mountain Bamboo is native to Central China.

    Common Uses

    Chinese Mountain Bamboo offers excellent ground cover and is ideal for landscaping applications, particularly windbreaks.

    Fernleaf

    Fernleaf Bamboo is a dense, green bamboo that forms tight, compact hedges.

    Properties

    This clumping bamboo is known for its arching canes and lacy, fern-like leaves. It usually grows up to 16 ft. tall, needs full sunlight, and even water distribution for best growth. Fernleaf Bamboo grows fast and lives for about 10 years.

    Features

    Fernleaf Bamboo grows closely together to form short, thick, deer-resistant hedges. The plant is very attractive with vibrant green culms and leaves that emerge yellow in spring before turning green for the rest of the year.

    Origin

    Fernleaf Bamboo is native to China.

    Common Uses

    This bamboo species is popular for most landscaping applications, including:

  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting
  • Fernleaf Bamboo is also a great option for yard sound barriers because it is so dense.

    Giant Japanese Timber

    Giant Japanese Timber is a statuesque, sturdy bamboo that is known for its excellent wood qualities. This species is most recommended for creating groves or walk-through bamboo forests.

    Properties

    Giant Japanese Timber can reach heights of up to 75 ft. and grows best in full sun or partial shade. While this bamboo grows quickly, it is slow to mature and reach its full height.

    Features

    The stems of Giant Japanese Timber start as a beautiful emerald green then turn to yellow-green color as they mature. New shoots can also be cooked and eaten, much like asparagus.

    Origin

    While Giant Japanese Timber is largely harvested in Japan, it is actually native to China.

    Common Uses

    Because Giant Japanese Timber has strong, durable wood, it is used in many ways, including:

  • Traditional Japanese Shakuhachi flute
  • Building
  • Construction
  • Crafts
  • Yellow Groove

    Yellow Groove Bamboo is a beautiful, ornamental bamboo that is ideal for privacy screens in landscaping.

    Properties

    Yellow Groove has a fast growth rate and thrives in partial to full sun. This bamboo can grow up to 40 ft. tall.

    Features

    Viewed as being one of the most beautiful bamboo species, the Yellow Groove tends to grow straight then change to a zigzag pattern before heading straight up again. This bamboo also boasts a unique yellow stripe in the culm, giving it a distinctive and beautiful look.

    Origin

    Yellow Groove Bamboo is native to the Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces in East China.

    Common Uses

    Yellow Groove Bamboo is widely used for:

  • Ornamental landscaping purposes
  • Privacy screens
  • This bamboo is rarely used as timber because of the zigzag pattern near the base of the stem.

    Kuma Bamboo

    Kuma Bamboo is known to be one of the most eye-catching bamboo species, due to its unique leaf coloring.

    Properties

    Kuma Bamboo can grow up to 6 ft. tall though it usually only reaches 3 and 5 ft. It is also extremely versatile because it can grow anywhere from deep shade to full sun. As a shorter bamboo, Kuma Bamboo has a moderate growth rate.

    Features

    Kuma Bamboo stands out from other baboo species due to its deep green leaves with distinctive white edges. The leaves change from solid green to green/white in the fall and winter seasons.

    Origin

    This bamboo is native to southwest Honshu, Japan.

    Common Uses

    Kuma Bamboo is used for:

  • Groundcover in gardening and landscaping
  • Culinary applications
  • Weed suppression
  • Red Margin

    Red Margin Bamboo is an excellent choice for colder climates as it is extremely cold hardy and able to withstand strong winds.

    Properties

    This bamboo is dense, fast-growing, and can reach up to 20 ft. tall. Red Margin Bamboo grows best in full sun or partial shade.

    Features

    Red Margin Bamboo is known for its beautiful olive green stems with streaks of red around the margins. It can withstand alkaline soil and high winds and can grow to be 60 ft. tall.

    Origin

    Red Margin Bamboo is native to central China, specifically the Guangxi and Guizhou provinces.

    Common Uses

    This bamboo species is used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Containers/Pots
  • Ornamental landscaping
  • Privacy screens
  • Arts
  • Crafts
  • Timber
  • Silverstripe

    Silverstripe Bamboo is known for its unique silver stripes and cream-colored culms of the stems.

    Properties

    This bamboo can grow up to 45 ft. tall and grows together tightly to help with privacy in landscaping. It is ideal for container planting and well-lit indoor environments although it needs full sunlight to grow.

    Features

    Silverstripe Bamboo has leaves that start yellow then change to light green as they grow. The stems are dark green with silver/white pinstripes along the stalk and provide a beautiful contrast to the leaves.

    Origin

    Silverstripe Bamboo originates from Taiwan.

    Common Uses

    Silverstripe Bamboo is primarily used in landscaping applications, including:

  • Privacy screens
  • Windbreaks
  • Sound dampening
  • Umbrella Bamboo

    This bamboo is an important food source for Giant Pandas and is often compared to Weeping Willow trees.

    Properties

    Umbrella Bamboo is fast-growing, requires low maintenance, and is considered one of the most beautiful bamboo species because of its graceful, “weeping” leaves. It grows best in partial shade and can reach up to 15 ft. tall.

    Features

    Umbrella Bamboo is known for its beautiful leaves that provide umbrella-like coverage of the plant and surrounding areas. The leaves are also bright green on top and gray/green on the bottom, making them even more distinctive. This species of bamboo is virtually disease-free so it is an ideal option for landscaping and bamboo groves.

    Origin

    Umbrella Bamboo is native to the mountains of Central China.

    Common Uses

    This bamboo has many common uses, including:

  • Hedges
  • Privacy screens
  • Paper
  • Timber
  • Utensils
  • Edible
  • How Fast Does Bamboo Grow?

    Bamboo growth rates vary by species but many are seen as fast-growing plants. There are 45 types of bamboo that collectively hold the world record for the fastest growing plant, averaging growth of 35 in. per day.

    Popular Uses for Bamboo

    There are many common uses for bamboo today. And while not every bamboo species can be used the same way, there are a variety of uses out there, including:

  • Food — For animals and people
  • Construction — Roofs, bridges, walls, floors, houses, etc.
  • Fuel — Can be used as biofuel in less developed countries
  • Textiles — Clothing, sheets, toothbrushes, medicine, pillows, etc.
  • Cultural arts — Writing utensils, paper, musical instruments, martial arts, weaponry
  • With so many uses for bamboo, there are numerous products you can add as part of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Cariloha offers many household bamboo products to enhance your natural-luxury lifestyle — bedding, bath, clothing and more — all of which are sustainable and the highest-possible quality.

    Visit our online shop now to discover all the wondrously soft and sustainable bamboo products we proudly offer here at Cariloha.