Phyllostachys subulata W.T.Lin & Z.M.Wu
Common Name: Big-Node Bamboo
Phyllostachys nidularia is an evergreen bamboo that can grow up to 10 metres tall; the erect, woody culms are up to 40mm in diameter with thin-walled internodes up to 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 also cultivated for used as a food and a source of materials. The plant can also be used for soil stabilization and is often grown as an ornamental and hedge, where its straight culms, interesting culm sheath auricles, and pendulous foliage are particularly admiredl[
E. Asia - central to southern China.
Usually in forests or scrub; at elevations up to 1,300 metres[
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Phyllostachys nidularia grows from the temperate zone almost to the tropics in China. It can tolerate moderate frosts with temperatures falling to around -10°c for short periods, though it dislikes prolonged exposure to hard frosts[
Succeeds in full sun and in partial shade. Requires a rich damp soil in a sheltered position.
New growth begins in early spring.
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. Highly prized in China, both for their earliness and their delicate flavour[
], they taste somewhat like hominy corn[
]. Neither acrid nor bitter, even in the raw state. The shoots, which are about 4cm in diameter[
] are harvested in the spring when they are about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level.
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 can be grown to provide a hedge and screen, where it is also useful as a barrier that helps to muffle noise.
The plant has been suggested as being useful for soil and water stabilization on hills and levees[
The canes are strong and useful in their whole state, but do not split well[
]. They can be used for plant supports etc.
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.