This species was considered in the past to be a part of Phyllostachys bambusoides[
Bambos koteisik Siebold
Bambusa aurea André
Bambusa koteisik Zoll.
Phyllostachys bambusoides albovariegata Makino
Phyllostachys bambusoides alternatolutes I.Tsuboi
Phyllostachys bambusoides aurea (André) Makino
Phyllostachys breviligula W.T.Lin & Z.M.Wu
Phyllostachys formosana Hayata
Phyllostachys meyeri aurea (André) Pilip.
Phyllostachys puberula flavescensinversa J.Houz.
Phyllostachys reticulata albovariegata (Makino) Makino & Nemoto
Phyllostachys reticulata alternatolutesc (I.Tsuboi) Makino & Nemoto
Phyllostachys reticulata aurea (André) Makino
Phyllostachys takemurae Muroi
Sinarundinaria reticulata aurea (André) Ohwi
Common Name: Golden Bamboo
Showing the contracted nodes at the base of a Phyllostachys aurea culm
Photograph by: Abrahami
Phyllostachys aurea is an evergreen, running bamboo with erect culms 2 - 8 metres long. The thin-walled, woody culms are 20 - 30mm in diameter with internodes every 8 - 10cm. The clumps can be quite loose, especially in warmer climates where plants can run very freely. This tendency to run, however, is somewhat curtailed in cooler climates near the limits of the plant's cold tolerance, where new shoot production can be rather reduced[
Commonly cultivated for its edible shoots in China[
], where it is considered to have the sweetest taste of the genus[
], the plant also supplies material for craftwork, construction etc. It is commonly grown as an ornamental in gardens, valued especially for its golden foliage and the irregularly shortened and swollen internodes in the lower part of the culms[
Phyllostachys aurea has been widely grown as an ornamental in many countries around the world - it is now showing itself to be a highly invasive plant that is especially problematic in Australia and North America, but is also causing problems in countries and regions such as the Mediterranean, New Zealand, the Philippines and Indonesia[
]. The plant rapidly forms a dense monoculture, suffocating other native plants and altering the entire ecosystem. As well as having detrimental effects on the environment, this bamboo may also damage property and pose as a potential health threat from its harbouring of a fungus responsible for the Histoplasmosis disease. Invasive bamboos are among the fastest growing plants on Earth and in warmer climates one infestation of Phyllostachys aurea can spread as far as 15 kilometres. The spread is rapid in all directions, increasing each successive year. The plant rarely produces seed, so most naturalization will be through this vegetative spread of the rhizomes[
, 1093. When grown as an ornamental, surplus rhizomes are often dug out and disposed of - if these are just dumped then they ill often continue to grow and will spread into the local environment[
E. Asia - southeast China (Fujian, Zhejiang), Vietnam.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Phyllostachys aurea is found wild in the warm temperate zone of southeast China, but is also widely cultivated in many areas of the world from cool temperate zones to the tropics, where it succeeds at lower elevations but grows best at moderate elevations. It is quite cold hardy, though it suffers leaf and culm damage at temperatures below about -15°c[
Grows well in dappled shade, succeeding in full sun once established. Requires a rich, moist but well-drained soil in a sheltered position[
]. Dislikes prolonged exposure to hard frosts[
]. Established plants are drought resistant[
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. New shoots of this species are produced from late spring[
] - they grow rapidly, reaching full height within 1 month, after which the branches and leaves develop. A culm reaches maturity in 3 - 5 years and can then be harvested for its many uses[
Bamboos in general are usually monocarpic, living for many years before flowering - perhaps 15 - 30 years in the case of this species[
]. They then flower and seed 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.
Although called the ' Golden Bamboo', the leaves of this plant only turn golden if plants are grown in full sun[
], especially if the plants are half-starved.
This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[
Young shoots - cooked[
]. They can also be eaten raw and have very little bitterness[
]. They are said to be the sweetest of the genus[
]. The canes are about 15mm in diameter[
]. In China, the new canes are 2 - 5cm in diameter[
]. The shoots are harvested in the spring when about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level.
Seed - raw or cooked. The seed is only produced at intervals of several years, it can be eaten in all the ways that rice s used and can also be ground into a flour and used as a cereal[
Phyllostachys aurea is a popular garden ornamental, where it is also used as a hedge[
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 basal culm parts are irregularly shortened and swollen. They are used and sold as walking sticks, umbrella and fan handles and as various other souvenirs.
The straight upper culm parts make excellent plant supports, and are also used as fishing rods, ski poles, javelins and for furniture and construction[
]. The canes are very hard but super-flexible[
A fibre from the stems is used for making paper[
]. The stems are harvested at any time of the year and crushed with a hammer. They are then cooked for 2 hours or more with lye and beaten in a ball mill for 4 hours. The fibre makes a yellow/gold to cream paper[
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.