Common Name: Thorny Bamboo
Chimonobambusa pachystachys is an evergreen bamboo that can grow 3 - 7 metres tall; the erect, woody culms are 10 - 30mm in diameter with thick-walled internodes 15 - 22cm 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.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
E. Asia - southern China (Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan)
Evergreen broad-leaved forests; at elevations from 1,000 - 2,000 metres[
Chimonobambusa pachystachys is a moderately cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -10°c or lower when fully dormant[
]. It grows best in areas with moderate to high rainfall levels and hot summers.
Bamboos generally grow best in a sunny or moderately sunny position in a well-drained, fertile, open loam of reasonable quality with plenty of moisture in the growing season[
]. Especially when grown in areas close to the limits of their hardiness they require a position sheltered from cold or strong winds[
Chimonobambusa species, especially those originating from regions with very mild winters, will often produce their new stems towards the end of the summer, and this can lead to the stem having insufficient time to grow and mature before the winter if the plant is cultivated in areas with cold winters[
Temperate bamboos have an interesting method of growth. Each plant produces a number of new stems annually -usually in the spring and early summer, and these stems grow to their maximum height in their first two to three months. Any subsequent growth in the stem in future years is limited to the production of new side branches and leaves.
Temperate bamboo species usually grow for many years without flowering. When they do finally flower it is not unusual for all the plants of that species in the region to also flower. They do so profusely over a period of 1 - 3 years and will often then die, probably from exhaustion. Some species, if given plenty of organic matter at this time will gradually recover, although they will look rather poorly for a year or three. If fed with artificial NPK fertilizers at this time the plants are more likely to die[
Bamboo species are usually notably resistant to honey fungus[
Stem - cooked. An excellent vegetable. The stem is up to 10cm in diameter[
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. 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.