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Useful Temperate Plants

Phyllostachys flexuosa

Rivière & C.Rivière

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Bambusa flexuosa Carrière

Common Name: Zig-Zag Bamboo

No Image.

General Information

Phyllostachys flexuosa is an evergreen bamboo that usually grows 5 - 6 metres tall but can reach 10 metres; the arching, woody culms are 20 - 40mm in diameter, exceptionally to 70mm, with thin-walled internodes op to 30cm or more 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 also cultivated for use as a food and a source of materials. It is often grown as an ornamental, valued amongst other things for the distinct zig-zag pattern shown by some of the culms, and is also used for hedging and soil stabilization.
Like several other members of this genus, the rootstock can be vigorously running and so has the potential to escape rom cultivation and invade the local environment. It is reported to have escaped from cultivation in New Caledonia, where it has been described as invasive.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

E. Asia - Eastern to southwestern China

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Bamboo
Height5.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Phyllostachys flexuosa is a very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -17°c. According to another report the plant only suffers minor leaf damage at -22°c[
195
Title
The Book of Bamboo
Publication
 
Author
Farrelly. D.
Publisher
Sierra Club.
Year
1984
ISBN
0-87156-825-X
Description
Very readable, giving lots of information on the uses of bamboos, both temperate and tropical.
]. It dislikes prolonged exposure to hard frosts[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Succeeds in full sun and in partial shade. Requires a rich damp soil in a sheltered position[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
] and plenty of moisture in the growing season[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].
This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A plant at Trebah gardens in Cornwall, England was flowering heavily in May 1995[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
New growth appears from late March[
25
Title
Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Lawson.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
Fairly comprehensive, it was once the standard work but is now rather dated. Deals with species hardy in Britain, giving cultivation details and some uses.
].
This species is closely related to Phyllostachys angusta[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].
Plants need quite a lot of space because the outer culms spread out sideways and arch over[
162
Title
Ornamental Grasses.
Publication
 
Author
Grounds. R.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1989
ISBN
0-7470-1219-9
Description
Cultivation details of many of the grasses and bamboos. Well illustrated.
].
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
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
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.

Edible Uses

Young shoots - cooked[
25
Title
Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Lawson.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
Fairly comprehensive, it was once the standard work but is now rather dated. Deals with species hardy in Britain, giving cultivation details and some uses.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. A delicious flavour[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. Slightly acrid raw, they are usually boiled in at least one change of water and added to salads etc[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The canes are about 10mm in diameter[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The shoots, which are generally 2- 4cm in diameter, though occasionally up to 7cm[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
], are harvested in the spring when they are about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level.

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

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[
195
Title
The Book of Bamboo
Publication
 
Author
Farrelly. D.
Publisher
Sierra Club.
Year
1984
ISBN
0-87156-825-X
Description
Very readable, giving lots of information on the uses of bamboos, both temperate and tropical.
].
Plants can be used as a hedge with arching stems and, with its running rootstock, can also be used for soil stabilization.

Other Uses

The canes are not of the highest quality but can be used for plant supports etc. The medium quality wood is good for all standard bamboo uses for canes of this size[
195
Title
The Book of Bamboo
Publication
 
Author
Farrelly. D.
Publisher
Sierra Club.
Year
1984
ISBN
0-87156-825-X
Description
Very readable, giving lots of information on the uses of bamboos, both temperate and tropical.
]. The culms are used as handles of tools[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. The splints made from the split stems are used for weaving articles[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

Propagation

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[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Division is best carried out in wet weather and small divisions will establish better than large clumps[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. 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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Basal cane cuttings in spring.

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