Phyllostachys sapida T.P.Yi
Common Name: Half-Black Bamboo
Phyllostachys arcana is an evergreen bamboo that can grow around 8 metres tall; the erect, woody culms are around 30mm in diameter with thin-walled internodes around 20 - 30cm long. The rhizomes are elongated, the plant having a running habit that can produce new canes some distance from the main clump, especially in warm climates. This tendency to run, however, is somewhat curtailed in cooler climates, where new shoot production can be rather reduced.
The plant is harvested from the wild and locally cultivated for use as a food and a source of materials.
E. Asia - central and southwest China (Anhui, Gansu, Jiangsu, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang).
Grown at elevations from 700 - 1,800 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Phyllostachys arcanas is not hardy outside the milder regions of the temperate zone, it can tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[
Grows well in light woodland and also in full sun. Prefers a rich damp soil with shelter from cold harsh winds and prolonged frosts.
This species is 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.
Young shoots - cooked[
]. The shoots, which are about 3cm in diameter[
], are harvested in the spring when about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level. They are said to be of good quality[
] and have a delicious flavour[
This is a good companion species to grow in a woodland because the plants have shallow root systems that do not compete with deep tree roots[
The plant has a dense, running root system and has been planted on slopes to stabilize the soil.
The hard canes are used as handles of farm appliances or as pillars of bamboo appliances[
]. They are also used for matting and making lanterns[
Seed - surface sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse at about 20°c. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination usually takes place fairly quickly so long as the seed is of good quality, though it can take 3 - 6 months. 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. Divisions from the open ground do not transplant well, so will need careful treatment and nurturing under cover in pots until at least late spring[
]. Division is best carried out in wet weather and small divisions will establish better than large clumps[
]. Another report says that you can take large divisions from established clumps and transfer them straight to their permanent positions, misting or drenching them frequently until they are established[
Basal cane cuttings in spring.