Interim profile, incomplete information
Taxonomic name: Bambusa vulgaris Schrad. ex J.C. Wendl.
Synonyms: Arundarbor arundinacea (Retz.) Kuntze, Arundarbor bambos Kuntze, Rev. Gen. Pl. 2, 1891, Arundarbor blancoi (Steudel) Kuntze 1891, Arundarbor fera (Miquel) Kuntze 1891, Arundarbor fera Rumphius 1743, Arundarbor monogyna (Blanco) Kuntze 1891, Arundo bamboa Miller 1768, Arundo bambos L., Arundo fera Oken 1841, Bambos arundinacea Retz., Bambusa arundinacea var. picta Moon 1824, Bambusa auriculata Kurz ex Cat. Hort. Bot. Calc., 1864, Bambusa balcooa Roxburgh 1832, Bambusa bambos (L.) Voss, Bambusa blancoi Steudel 1854, Bambusa capensis Rupr., Bambusa fera Miquel 1857, Bambusa humilis Reichenbach ex. Ruprecht 1839, Bambusa madagascariensis hort. ex A. & C. Rivière 1878, Bambusa mitis Blanco 1837, Bambusa monogyna Blanco 1837, Bambusa sieberi Grisebach 1864, Bambusa striata Lodd., Bambusa surinamensis Ruprecht 1839, Bambusa thouarsii Kunth 1822, Bambusa tuldoides Munro, Bambusa vasaria Herbier Hamilton, Dendrocalamus balcooa (Roxburgh) Voigt 1845, Leleba vulgaris (Schrader ex Wendland) Nakai 1933, Nastus thouarsii (Kunth) Raspail 1825, Nastus viviparus Raspail 1825, Phyllostachys striata (Lodd. ex Lindl.) Nakai
Common names: agarabà (Nigeria), aur beting (Malay-Malaysia), aur gading (Malay-Malaysia), bacáu (Mexico), bakal (India), balé (Ivory Coast), bambou (French), bambu (Spanish), bambu ampel (Indonesian Bahasa-Indonesia), bambu blenduk (Indonesian Bahasa-Indonesia), bambú común (Spanish), bambu kuning (Malay-Malaysia), bambu kuning (Indonesian Bahasa-Indonesia), bambú patamba (Spanish-Mexico), bambúa (Spanish), bambu-verde (Portuguese), bambu-vulgar (Portuguese), bannada bidiru (India), baran (Sierra Leone), basini bans (India), basinibans (India), bolinao (Philippines), bolinau (Philippines), boo (Sierra Leone), buloh aur (Malay-Malaysia), buloh gading (Malay-Malaysia), buloh kuning (Malay-Malaysia), buloh minyak (Malay-Malaysia), buloh minyak has (Malay-Malaysia), buloh pau (Malay-Malaysia), buluh aur (Malay-Malaysia), buluh minyak (Malay-Malaysia), buluh pau (Malay-Malaysia), burirau (Philippines), butong (Philippines), caña brava (Spanish-Cuba), caña India (Spanish), cañambú (Spanish-Cuba), cañaza (Spanish-Panama), chan kham (Thailand), common bamboo (English), cupamu (Mexico), dai-san-chiku (Japanese-Japan), davike (India), domar (Indonesia), feathery bamboo (English), gemeiner bambus (German), golden bamboo (English), grand bambou (French), haladi bidiru (India), haur (Indonesia), i ngol (Senegal), igbon ikirai (Nigeria), itikna (Nicaragua), kabaloan (Philippines), kaho palangi (Pacific), kaho papalangi (Pacific), kalaka (India), kanale (Sierra Leone), kasul (Sierra Leone), kauayan (Philippines), kauayan-china (Philippines), kauayan-kiling (Philippines), kawayan (Philippines), kawayan-china (Philippines), kawayang-kiting (Philippines), kawayang-tsina (Philippines), kawayan-kiling (Philippines), ken (Sierra Leone), kenye (Sierra Leone), kewe (Sierra Leone), kiling (Philippines), kinshi-chiku (Japanese-Japan), ko-tatami (Guinea), labong (Philippines), lefyog (Cameroon), limas (Philippines), linetso (Congo), lulasi (Malawi), lunas (Philippines), mai-luang (Thailand), mambu kakar (New Guinea), mambu yang (New Guinea), maribal (Philippines), marobal (Philippines), mfele (Cameroon), mlasi (Malawi), musyombe (Malawi), ngmalu (Upper Volta), nsungwi (Malawi), otate (Mexico), patong (Philippines), patung (Philippines), phai cheen (Thailand), phai chin (Thailand), phai lueang (Thailand), phai-bongkham (Vietnam), phai-luang (Thailand), phai-ngachang (Thailand), pilanda (Sierra Leone), pito (Spanish-Cuba), ponmungil (India), rai yai (Thailand), ree sai (Thailand), ri sai (Thailand), russèi kaèw (Cambodia), s'a:ng kh'am' (Lao-Laos), saang kham (Thailand), sacaú (Mexico), sang kham (Thailand), seemamula (India), semi (Sierra Leone), sen (Sierra Leone), seni (Sierra Leone), senye (Sierra Leone), sii (Sierra Leone), simine (Sierra Leone), sinambang (Philippines), soft bamboo (English), striped bamboo (English), sunderkania bansa (India), taiu-anak (Philippines), tamalang (Malay-Malaysia), tamalang silau (Malay-Malaysia), tambalang (Malay-Malaysia), tamelang (Malay-Malaysia), taring (Philippines), tatami (Guinea), tatami-na (Sierra Leone), teuanak (Philippines), tewanak (Philippines), tiling (Philippines), vyo (Nigeria), wanet (Burma), wok (New Guinea), wusle (Sierra Leone), yellow bamboo (English)
Organism type: grass, tree
Bambusa vulgaris is the most widespread member of its genus, and has long been cultivated across the tropics and subtropics. It prefers lowland humid habitats, but tolerates a wide range of climatic conditions and soil types. It commonly naturalises, forming monospecific stands along river banks, roadsides and open ground.
Although Bambusa vulgaris is taxonomically a grass, its habit is tree-like. It forms dense stands of cylindrical, jointed woody stems up to 20m in height and 4-10cm in diameter; leafy branches at nodes, with narrow lanceolate leaves up to 30cm long.
natural forests, planted forests, riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed, water courses
Bambusa vulgaris "Occurs spontaneously or naturalised mostly on river banks, road sides, wastelands and open ground; generally at low altitudes. In cultivation it thrives best under humid conditions up to 1000m altitude, but tolerates unfavourable conditions as well: dry season (plants may become completely defoliated); low temperature (grows up to 1200m altitude, survives -3 degrees C); also tolerates a wide range of soil types." (Ohrnberger 1999, p. 279)
Bambusa vulgaris forms extensive monospecific stands where it occurs, excluding other plant species.
B. vulgaris colonises along streams into forest (Blundell et al. 2003)
Bambusa vulgaris is used for construction of houses, huts, boats, fences, props and furniture; as raw material for paper pulp; shoots are rarely used as a vegetable or as livestock fodder (although toxic effects to horses noted by Barbosa et al. 2006); planted as ornamental or boundary marker; used to support banana plants; split stems used for brooms, baskets; in New Guinea, culms used to make combs and penis gourds; used to make musical instruments; medicinal uses include as abortifacient, for kidney troubles, leaves used as sudorific and febrifuge agents, sap to treat fever and hematuria, tabasheer from culm internodes to treat infantile epilepsy, bark astringent and emmenagogue (Ohrnberger 1999; Quatrocchi 2006).
Native range: Exact origin unknown: reported as "tropical Asia" (Quatrocchi 2006), or "Old World tropics, possibly either southern China or Madagascar" (Ohrnberger 1999).
Known introduced range: Extensive across tropics and subtropics, including many islands.
Introduction pathways to new locations
Agriculture: Bambusa vulgaris is widely planted, primarily for use in light construction, but young shoots also edible; medicinal uses (Quatrocchi 2006)
For ornamental purposes: see "Horticulture"
Forestry: Bambusa vulgaris stems are used for houses, huts, fences, banana plant supports (Quatrocchi 2006)
Horticulture: Bambusa vulgaris is "Widely and frequently cultivated in East, South-East, South Asia and Madagascar, and also in numerous other tropical and subtropical regions all over the world" (Ohrnberger 1999)
Landscape/fauna "improvement": Bambusa vulgaris are planted on slopes to control erosion (Quatrocchi 2006)
Taken to botanical garden/zoo: Bambusa vulgaris was introduced into European botanic gardens (Ohrnberger 1999)
Local dispersal methods
Disturbance: While removing bamboo, workers may drop rhizome fragments, thus inadvertently transporting bamboo to new locations (Blundell et al. 2003)
For ornamental purposes (local):
Natural dispersal (local): Fragments of rhizome, broken by fast-flowing water along stream banks, may be transported downstream and, if deposited in suitable areas, take root and colonize (Blundell et al. 2003)
Water currents: See "Natural dispersal"
Preventative measures: A Risk Assessment of Bambusa vulgaris for Hawai‘i and other Pacific islands was prepared by Dr. Curtis Daehler (UH Botany) with funding from the Kaulunani Urban Forestry Program and US Forest Service. The alien plant screening system is derived from Pheloung et al. (1999) with minor modifications for use in Pacific islands (Daehler et al. 2004). The result is a score of 5 and a recommendation of: "the plant requires further evaluation in Hawai‘i and on other Pacific Islands as determined by a low WRA score, which is based on published sources describing species biology and behaviour in Hawai‘i and/or other parts of the world."
Physical: Digging plants out may require heavy equipment. Continuing removal will probably be necessary due to resprouting. Continued cutting or mowing will eventually kill most plants by exhausting food reserves. Livestock will graze shoots but cannot bring down large plants once established (PIER 2007). Toxic effects have been noted in horses that ingested large quantities of leaves (Barbosa et al. 2006).
Chemical: Remove tops and spray regrowth with Glyphosate or Amitrole 2%, or imazapyr or glyphosate plus fluazifop. Velpar can be used but is persistent in the soil. However, it has been reported that glyphosate does not adequately translocate to the rhizomes (PIER 2007).
The effectiveness of the use of herbicides to eradicate weedy bamboo was investifgated in Puerto Rico. The study Cruzado et al, (1961) found that out of the 25 different compunds tested on a total of 12 bamboo species, the most effective treatements were the application of monuron, TCA and dalapon to the bases of intact or cut bamboo culms and the use of amitrole as a spray for regrowth. Combinations of these treatments were found to be most effective againast B. vulgaris. The authors note that highly resistant species required a second treatment. They also note that decaying of dead bamboo is slow.
Bambusa vulgaris reproduces almost exclusively by vegetative means. "Flowering is extremely rare" (Quatrocchi 2006).
Compiled by: Interim compiled by Ben Phalan, Conservation Science Group Department of Zoology University of Cambridge United Kingdom & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Updates with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
Last Modified: Thursday, 10 December 2009