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Dendrocalamus asper - (Schult.) Backer

Common Name Giant Bamboo, Dragon bamboo, Sweet bamboo
Family Poaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation
Range Africa - Madagascar; Southeast Asia - China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Dendrocalamus asper Giant Bamboo, Dragon bamboo, Sweet bamboo

Dendrocalamus asper Giant Bamboo, Dragon bamboo, Sweet bamboo


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Dendrocalamus asper or commonly known as Giant Bamboo or Rough Bamboo is a very large, dense-clumping, evergreen species native to Southeast Asia. It grows up to 20 m tall and 12 cm in diameter. Younger plants are covered with fine velvety brown hairs. The nodes are swollen; younger nodes have many aerial roots while middle and upper nodes have branches. It is widely cultivated for its highly valued culms that are used as building material and its shoots that are used as vegetable. Upper internodes of the culm are used as containers for water or to collect juice being tapped from palm inflorescence. It can be grown from rhizomes, culm or branch cuttings.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Dendrocalamus asper is an evergreen Bamboo growing to 15 m (49ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Arundarbor bitung (Schult.) Kuntze Arundo aspera (Schult.f.) Oken Arundo piscatoria Lour. Bambusa as

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Shoots  Stem
Edible Uses:

Young stems - cooked. Free of bitterness[ 310 ]. Harvested before they emerge from the soil, they are tender and sweet[ 301 , 310 ]. They are used as a vegetable, pickled or preserved[ 301 ]. They can be cut into strips and used as a substitute for macaroni in soups[ 301 ]. The edible portion of young shoots is about 34%; they weigh on average 5.4 kilos before peeling and 1.8 kilos after peeling[ 299 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Biomass  Containers  Fodder  Furniture  Musical  Paper  Wood

Other Uses: The upper internodes of the culm, which are longer than the lowermost ones, are used as containers for water or to collect juice being tapped from palm inflorescences[ 310 ]. The internodes of this and other bamboo species are also used as ready-made cooking pots in the field[ 299 , 310 ]. The internode is opened at one end (or the node) and filled with vegetables, meat or rice, and water, and is then covered and placed on a fire[ 310 ]. The culms have thick walls and are very strong and durable. They are used as building material for houses and bridges, for making furniture, boards, musical instruments, household utensils, crafts, outriggers of fishing boats and for paper making[ 299 , 310 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Fodder: Bank  Industrial Crop: Biomass  Management: Managed Multistem  Minor Global Crop  Other Systems: Multistrata  Other Systems: Strip intercrop

A plant of moist areas in the tropics and subtropics, where it can be found from low elevations up to 1,500 metres, though it grows best at an elevation of 400 - 500 metres[ 310 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 27°c, but can tolerate 15 - 34°c[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 - 3,600mm, but tolerates 1,200 - 4,500mm[ 418 ]. Succeeds in any type of soil of at least moderate fertility, though it grows better on heavy soils with good drainage[ 310 , 418 ]. In Thailand, according to local farmers, the plant will grow well on sandy and rather acidic soils[ 310 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7[ 418 ]. 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[ K ]. Initially, a young plant raised from a lateral branch cutting will produce small shoots which will develop into small culms[ 310 ]. As the plant grows older, so the culms produced each year increase in size and quantity until full-size culms appear five or six years after planting[ 310 ]. A mature clump may attain a diameter of 3 metres or more and contains about 60 culms[ 310 ]. A culm becomes mature when 3 - 4 years old[ 310 ]. A good healthy clump can produce several shoots annually[ 310 ]. Yields of 10 - 11 tonnes per hectare of bamboo shoots have been reported from Thailand[ 418 ]. 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 usually flowers when around 100 - 120 years old[ 299 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Fodder: Bank  Fodder banks are plantings of high-quality fodder species. Their goal is to maintain healthy productive animals. They can be utilized all year, but are designed to bridge the forage scarcity of annual dry seasons. Fodder bank plants are usually trees or shrubs, and often legumes. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants.
  • Industrial Crop: Biomass  Three broad categories: bamboos, resprouting woody plants, and giant grasses. uses include: protein, materials (paper, building materials, fibers, biochar etc.), chemicals (biobased chemicals), energy - biofuels
  • Management: Managed Multistem  Regularly removing some multiple stems. A non-A non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.
  • Other Systems: Multistrata  Multistrata agroforests feature multiple layers of trees often with herbaceous perennials, annual crops, and livestock.
  • Other Systems: Strip intercrop  Tree crops grown in rows with alternating annual crops.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow in containers and only just cover. Germination usually takes place readily. Prick out into individual pots as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Plant out into permanent positions when 20cm tall. Plants may remain in their low-growing juvenile state for several years - cutting the culms to the ground level can stimulate taller adult growth[ 200 ]. Rhizome, culm and branch cuttings[ 310 ]. The propagules are raised in the nursery and after they have produced roots they are planted out in the field before or during the first half of the rainy season[ 310 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

TROPICAL ASIA: Andaman Islands, Bangladesh, Borneo, China South-Central, China Southeast, Jawa (Java, an island in Indonesia), Laos, Lesser Sunda Islands, Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia), Maluku (Moluccas, Indonesia), Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Sulawesi (Celebes, Indonesia), Sumatera (Sumatra, Indonesia), Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, AUSTRALASIA: New Guinea (including Papua New Guinea and West Papua)

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Dendrocalamus brandesiiVelvet Leaf Bamboo, Clumping BambooBamboo25.0 9-10 FLMHNM304
Dendrocalamus giganteusGiant Bamboo, Bhalu bans, Dhungre bansBamboo30.0 9-12 FLMHSNM214
Dendrocalamus hamiltoniiTama Bamboo. Tufted bambooBamboo15.0 10-12 FLMHSNM303
Dendrocalamus hookeriBhalu bans, Bhutan Green BambooBamboo20.0 10-12 FLMHSNM203
Dendrocalamus latiflorusSweet Bamboo, Sweet bamboo shoot, Taiwan giant bambooBamboo20.0 10-12 FLMHNM402
Dendrocalamus membranaceusWhite bambooBamboo15.0 10-12 FLMHSNDM304
Dendrocalamus strictusMale Bamboo. Calcutta Stricta or BambooBamboo15.0 9-12 FLMHSNDM313

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Schult.) Backer

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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