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Melocanna baccifera - (Roxb.) Kurz

Common Name Berry Bamboo. Mali bamboo
Family Poaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Occurs in vast stands, usually on hilly ground[418 ].
Range E. Asia - Bangladesh, Myanmar.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Melocanna baccifera Berry Bamboo. Mali bamboo

Melocanna baccifera Berry Bamboo. Mali bamboo


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Melocanna baccifera is an evergreen Bamboo growing to 15 m (49ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Bambusa baccifera Roxb. Melocanna bambusoides Trin.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves  Shoots
Edible Uses: Drink

Young shoots - cooked[310 ]. The shoots are also sliced and dried in the sun for preservation[310 ]. The remarkable large fruits are fleshy and edible[310 ]. They are used as a famine food[310 ]. The leaves may be used in brewing liquor[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.

Tabashir, which is a siliceous concretion found in the culms of the bamboo stem, can be collected from the culms[310 ]. It is used as a tonic in treating respiratory diseases.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Basketry  Biomass  Fibre  Paper  Weaving

The culms are widely used in house building; to make woven wares such as baskets, mats, handicrafts, wall plates, screens and hats; and for domestic utensils[310 ]. The culms are an important source of superior paper pulp[310 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Biomass  Management: Managed Multistem  Regional Crop

A plant of the moist tropics. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature falls within the range 20 - 33°c, though it can tolerate 15 - 38°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 - 3,000mm, tolerating 600 - 4,400mm[418 ]. Succeeds in full sun or light shade[418 ]. Succeeds in moist soils, preferring a fertile medium to heavy soil[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, but tolerates 5 - 7[418 ]. Harvesting of the culms may start 5 - 6 years after planting[310 ]. Young shoots are harvested in the rainy season. Culms are considered mature when 2 years old[310 ]. The average green culm yield is estimated at 12,000 culms/ha per 3 years, weighing about 84 tonnes[310 ]. Other reported culm yield data per 3 years per ha in air dry weight are: 38 tonnes (Bangladesh), 21 tonnes (Myanmar) and 17.5 tonnes (India)[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 ]. Seedlings, unlike those of most bamboos, grow vigorously from the beginning. By the end of their first year's growth they have usually produced 1 or 2 shoots, but up to 5 shoots can be produced[310 ]. The least shoot produced can be up to 3 metres tall[310 ]. The shoots are crowded together in a clump[310 ]. More shoots are produced during the second season - these can be up to 7 metres tall and the clump becomes larger[310 ]. By the fifth season, the culms have attained almost their maximum height, but they are still thin and crowded together[310 ]. Per clump, more than 70 culms may be present[310 ]. In later years, the culms become spaced out with the gradual extension of the rhizomes[310 ]. Clumps are mature after about 10 years, reaching 4 - 5 metres in diameter and producing 30 - 40 new culms annually[310 ]. Young shoots emerge above the soil during the rainy season and develop to their full height within 4 - 6 months[310 ]. Lateral branches emerge and develop in the following season[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. The plant flowers gregariously, with a flowering cycle of 30 - 45 years. In the season before flowering no new shoots are produced. Flowering may continue for about 10 years over a tract that is sometimes called a flowering wave[310 ]. Soon after flowering, the leaves wither and fall, the culms turn yellow and the fruit forms rapidly, ripening and falling - often already germinating even before they fall[310 ]. Many fruits fail to mature and those produced from the earlier flowering part are larger than those from the later part[310 ]. Eventually, clumps that have flowered die[310 ]. The rhizomes are very vital and start growing easily - this means that eradication of the plant from cleared bamboo forest is very difficult because every rhizome part left in the ground quickly develops into a new plant[310 ].

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

Seed - when available, they afford the best means of propagation[310 ]. Sown in a nursery bed and only just cover the seeds. Germination usually takes place within a few days - up to 80% of the seed germinates if sown in a shady position, but only 33% in a sunny position[310 ]. Rhizome development begins 30 - 40 days after germination[310 ]. Due to its tall and soft stem, the seedling gets easily damaged during handling and transportation - therefore chopping the seedling stem tips at 3 - 5 nodes is generally recommended[310 ]. Frequent shifting of seedlings from one bed to another helps in minimizing root and rhizome intermingling at the nursery stage[310 ]. Normally, seed remains viable for about 35 days. Storage in air-conditioned rooms increases its lifespan up to 45 days, and when stored with dry sand in gunny bags, up to 60 days[310 ]. Single-culm clump division. These should be made from the youngest culms, while the lateral buds of the rhizome are still dormant, or before they have pushed more than 50 - 75mm[310 ]. Most of the culm and the long slender rhizome neck may be discarded for convenience[310 ]. Culm cuttings are preferably taken from 2-year-old culms[310 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Bambu mali, Bish, Kaninwa, Kauaung-wa, Kaucheu, Kayaung-wa, Kayin-wa, Khak-chat-dun, Mam-rua, Mautak, Metunga, Muli, Paiyya, Ta-bin-daing-wa, Tabinwa, Tarai, Wa mia, Wati, Wathwi, Watri,

Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Myanmar, Northeastern India, SE Asia

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

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


(Roxb.) Kurz

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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