Drepanostachyum cupreum (Stapleton) Demoly
Himalayacalamus cupreus is a clump-forming, evergreen bamboo that can grow 5 - 8 metres tall; the erect, woody culms are 20 - 30mm in diameter with thin walled internodes 30 - 40cm long[
]. The plant spreads slowly by means of short rhizomes, eventually forming quite a large, dense clump.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials, though use for food is rather restricted because the plant is more commonly harvested for use in weaving. The plant is grown as an ornamental.
E. Asia - Himalayas in the Kaski district of Nepal
Cool broad-leaved forests; at elevations from 2,300 - 2,800 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Himalayacalamus cupreus is native to cool broad-leaved forests in the Himalayas where it experiences frost and snow. Members of this genus are generally of moderate hardiness - they should all be expected to cope easily with temporary winter temperatures down to -5°c, whilst some of them will tolerate down to -15°c, but many do require reasonable summer rainfall (or at least good irrigation) with some cloud cover and partial shade.
Prefers a good loamy soil[
]. Succeeds in most soils so long as they do not dry out[
]. Dislikes drought[
]. Prefers a position sheltered from cold north and east winds[
]. The stems colour more brightly when grown in a sunny position[
], though the leaves curl up in bright sunlight[
]. Succeeds outdoors in a woodland garden[
Some species in this genus have been noted as being notably resistant to honey fungus[
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[
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.
Stems - cooked[
]. The shoots are very palatable, but there are restrictions on harvesting it in Nepal because the mature stems are required for use in weaving[
]. The shoots are harvested in the spring when about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level.
The older stems are split for weaving into baskets and mats[
]. The plant has large culms with long internodes, which makes it one of the most sought after bamboos for weaving[
Seed - surface sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse at about 20°c. Do not allow the compost to dry out. There is a degree of dormancy in the seed and it can take 1 - 8 months to germinate at 20 - 25°c, a cold pre-treatment might shorten this time[
]. Grow on in a lightly shaded place in the greenhouse until large enough to plant out. Seed is rarely available.
Division in spring as new growth commences. Take divisions with at least three canes in the clump, trying to cause as little root disturbance to the main plant as possible. Grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse in pots of a high fertility sandy medium. Mist the foliage regularly until plants are established. Plant them out into their permanent positions when a good root system has developed, which can take a year or more[
Basal cane cuttings.