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Dendrocalamus - (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)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Dendrocalamus Giant Bamboo, Dragon bamboo, Sweet bamboo

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


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


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 ].

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

Other Uses

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 ].

Cultivation details

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 ].


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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

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Australia, Benin, Central Africa, China, Congo, East Africa,East Timor, Ghana, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, USA, Vietnam, WestAfrica,

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Dendrocalamus asperGiant Bamboo, Dragon bamboo, Sweet bamboo40
Dendrocalamus brandesiiVelvet Leaf Bamboo, Clumping Bamboo30
Dendrocalamus giganteusGiant Bamboo, Bhalu bans, Dhungre bans21
Dendrocalamus hamiltoniiTama Bamboo. Tufted bamboo30
Dendrocalamus hookeriBhalu bans, Bhutan Green Bamboo20
Dendrocalamus latiflorusSweet Bamboo, Sweet bamboo shoot, Taiwan giant bamboo40
Dendrocalamus membranaceusWhite bamboo30
Dendrocalamus strictusMale Bamboo. Calcutta Stricta or Bamboo31


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(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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