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Gigantochloa levis - (Blanco) Merr.

Common Name Bulo semilang, Buloh seremai, Bolo
Family Poaceae
USDA hardiness 9-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in the wild but naturalized in the Philippines where it grows in secondary forest and abounds in and around towns and villages in the lowland[310,345].
Range The orininal range is not known. The plant is naturalized in the Philippines and cultivated there and in Borneo.
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
Gigantochloa levis Bulo semilang, Buloh seremai, Bolo

Gigantochloa levis Bulo semilang, Buloh seremai, Bolo


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Gigantochloa levis 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: 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


Arundarbor levis (Blanco) Kuntze Bambusa levis Blanco Dendrocalamus curranii Gamble Gigantochloa heteroclada Stapf Gigantochloa scribneriana Merr.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Shoots
Edible Uses:

Young shoots - cooked. Of good quality[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.

The juice of the stem, around 150ml, is taken to reduce body temperature[357 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Biomass  Furniture  Wood

The long, straight culms have a variety of traditional applications, being used in rough constructions; as framework; in the fishing industry, where they are used for making rafts, fish traps, outriggers and fish pens; as temporary water pipes; in fencing etc. They are also used in making modern furniture, are split for plaiting walls and are used in the handicraft industry[310 , 345 ]. One Philippine study indicated that the canes are suitable as raw material for kraft pulps from the standpoint of pulp strength, pulp yield and acceptable level of silica content[310 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Biomass  Management: Managed Multistem  Regional Crop

Grows reasonably well on a large range of sites, except where the soil is too sandy or too dry[310 ]. Five year old plants in a plantation started from cuttings each yielded an average of 9.4 culms around 10.4 metres tall and 11cm in diameter[310 ]. The average number of young shoots produced by the plants the plants was around 6, which increased to 10 - 15 in their tenth year[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 ]. 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. 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 pattern can vary - sometimes flowering is sporadic, with plants flowering annually and not dying; at other times it is gregarious with all the plants in a specific species coming into flower at the same time. Flowering in this species occurs over many months in a fertile clump, in one to several or all culms. After flowering, culms senesce, but sometimes clumps can regenerate from the rhizome[310 ]. Young shoots for food can be harvested 7 - 15 days after emergence. Whereas younger shoots have less protein and fat and more iron, they also have much less crude fibre per 100 g edible portion. Because the best texture in shoots is present just one week after emergence, that may also be the best time to harvest[310 ]. Culms of about a year old can be harvested for making handicrafts, but only culms of at least 3 years old should be taken for construction purposes[310 ]. It has been estimated that a clump should only be harvested 5 - 8 years after planting, and not more than 60% of all standing mature culms should be harvested from any clump per year[310 ]. The harvested culms apparently are more durable and resistant to insect and fungal attack if they have been immersed in water for about 60 days. In some cases in the Philippines, prior to use, culms are sun-dried (for 4 weeks or more) or kiln-dried (for about 9 days) and then subjected to curing with smoke or painted with slaked lime ("whitewashing"). Another method of traditional curing is to leave the branches and leaves on a harvested culm for some time, which is said to reduce the amount of moisture and starch in the culm via transpiration through the leaves[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 -not normally used[310 ]. The plant is propagated only vegetatively, usually by rhizome or culm cuttings. For culm cuttings it is recommended to take pieces of about 50cm in length, including a well-developed branching node, and to plant it horizontally at 10cm depth. Cuttings are planted first in a nursery or, as documented in the Philippines, directly in the field, at the onset of the rainy season. The recommended spacing for a plantation is 6 - 7 metres x 7 metres[310 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Buluh beting, Buluh suluk, Buluh tup, Clumping bamboo, Poring, Paling, Kabolian

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

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

Asia, Australia, Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pacific, Philippines, SE Asia, Taiwan

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

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Gigantochloa baluiClumping BambooBamboo 10.0 10-12 FLMHNM203
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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.


Expert comment


(Blanco) Merr.

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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