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Gigantochloa atroviolacea - Widjaja

Common Name Black Bamboo. Giant Black bamboo
Family Poaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range Only known from cultivation, its origin is unknown.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Gigantochloa atroviolacea Black Bamboo. Giant Black bamboo

wikimedia.org Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146)
Gigantochloa atroviolacea Black Bamboo. Giant Black bamboo
wikimedia.org Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146)


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Gigantochloa atroviolacea is an evergreen Bamboo growing to 12 m (39ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium 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 and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Gigantochloa atter nigra Gamble

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Shoots
Edible Uses:

The young shoots are edible, turning yellow-pinkish after cooking[310 ].

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

The thin culm has specific features that make it suitable for the manufacture of the famous bamboo musical instruments angklung, calung, gambang and celempung[310 ]. In the past the culms were exclusively used for this purpose, but the peculiar blackish culms have now also caught the attention of the handicraft and furniture industries, so that at present most of the culms disappear into these industries, creating a shortage of material to make musical instruments.[310 , 361 ]. The culms grow up to 12 metres tall, they are 6 - 8 cm in diameter at the base, the wall is up to 8 mm thick, with internodes up to 40 - 50 cm long[310. The canes are dark green when young, turning greenish to dark brownish-purple with age, with distinct pale or whitish rings at the nodes, covered by dark brown glabrescent hairs[310 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Biomass  Management: Managed Multistem  Regional Crop

Grows well in the perhumid lowland tropics, with an annual rainfall of 1,500 - 3,700 mm, relative humidity of over 70% and average temperature of 20 - 32°c[310 ]. In Java it occurs mostly on red and reddish-brown latosols and lateritic soils, but it prefers drier limestone soils. In dry areas the purplish colour of the culms is more prominent[361 ]. A slow growing bamboo, usually only 1 - 2 young shoots arise from the rhizome at the base of an old culm so that clumps are usually smaller than those of other bamboos[310 ]. However, it has been recorded that 2 years after planting 15 culms can be present[310 ]. 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 ]. Culms reach their maximum length within 5 months. The average growth rate is about 9 cm per day[310 ]. Culm size increases with the age of the clump; average height is 3 metres in the first year after planting, 6.4 metres in the 2nd and 9.3 metres in the 3rd; average diameter increases from 2.2 cm in the first year, 5.5 cm in the 2nd, to 7.6 cm in the 3rd year after planting[310 ]. Harvesting may start 4 - 5 years after planting. It is recommended to harvest only in the dry season[310 ]. The average yield of mature clumps is estimated at 20 culms per 3 years (or with 200 clumps per ha, about 4000 culms per ha every 3 years)[310 ]. Traditionally, harvested culms are immersed in running or stagnant water for 15 - 30 days and then air dried[310 ]. Chemical preservation is possible by soaking the culms in a 5% borax solution for 3 days. Penetration in the walls of whole culms is about 50% for borax[310 ]. Branching starts by the formation of some rudimentary branches at the first node from below. Then branching continues at about the 10th node from the top, followed by the next two nodes down, and then development continues both up and down the culm from this area until branches have been produced from all nodes situated higher than 2 - 3 metres from the ground[310 ]. 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.

Carbon Farming

  • 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.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

This species is only propagated vegetatively[310 ]. Rhizome or culm cuttings. In an experiment in Indonesia, 1-noded, 20 cm long cuttings of one-year-old culms were used in a nursery protected against heavy rains. Survival rate was 60%. Transplanting to the field was carried out about one year later, when the plants were about 75 cm tall[310 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Awi hideung, Bambu hitam, Clumping bamboo, Pring wulung

Asia, Australia, Indonesia, SE Asia, Singapore, USA

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.

None Known

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Gigantochloa albociliataClumping bambooBamboo12.0 10-11 FLMHSNM303
Gigantochloa apusWatho. Tabashir BambooBamboo20.0 9-11 FLMHSNM204
Gigantochloa baluiClumping BambooBamboo 10.0 10-12 FLMHNM203
Gigantochloa hasskarlianaAwi TelaBamboo10.0 10-12 FLMHSNM403
Gigantochloa levisBulo semilang, Buloh seremai, BoloBamboo15.0 9-10 FLMHSNM323
Gigantochloa verticillataWhorled bamboo, Giant stripy bambooBamboo15.0 10-12 FLMNM303

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.


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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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