Arundinaria stolonifera Kurz
Bambos kurotake Siebold
Bambusa boryana Bean
Bambusa dichotoma Donn.
Bambusa nigra Lodd. ex Lindl.
Bambusa nigricans Steud.
Bambusa nigropunctata Bean
Phyllostachys bambusoides boryana Sad.Suzuki
Phyllostachys boryana Mitford
Phyllostachys filifera McClure
Phyllostachys fulva Mitford
Phyllostachys nana Rendle
Phyllostachys nigripes Hayata
Phyllostachys nigropunctata Mitford
Phyllostachys puberula albovariegata Makino
Phyllostachys puberula boryana (Mitford) J.Houz.
Phyllostachys puberula flavescens J.Houz.
Phyllostachys puberula fulva (Mitford) J.Houz.
Phyllostachys puberula hanchiku J.Houz.
Phyllostachys puberula muchisasa J.Houz.
Phyllostachys puberula nana (Rendle) J.Houz.
Phyllostachys puberula nigra (Lodd. ex Lindl.) J.Houz.
Phyllostachys puberula nigropunctata (Mitford) J.Houz.
Phyllostachys puberula nigropunctata (Mitford) Makino
Phyllostachys puberula pendula Miyoshi
Phyllostachys puberula punctata (Bean) Nakai
Phyllostachys punctata (Bean) A.H.Lawson
Phyllostachys stolonifera Kurz ex Munro
Sinarundinaria nigra A.H.Lawson
Common Name: Black Bamboo
Phyllostachys nigra is an evergreen bamboo that can grow 4 - 8 metres tall, occasionally to 10 metres; the erect, woody culms can be 50mm or more in diameter with thin-walled internodes 25 - 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 sometimes also cultivated[
], for use as a food, medicine and as a source of materials. A very ornamental plant, it is widely grown in gardens.
This species has been widely planted for ornament in the Mediterranean - it is escaping from cultivation and becoming established there[
]. In Hawaii it is spreading by rhizomes and forming extensive, dense stands on moist, shaded slopes and stream banks, where it displaces native vegetation - virtually no other plants grow within the black bamboo groves[
E. Asia - southern China.
Fertile and moist places, also by streams[
]. In open forests, on slopes or in valleys; at elevations from 1,100 - 1,200 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
Phyllostachys nigra grows wild in the warm temperate and subtropical forests of southern China, though it is widely grown as an ornamental in much of central and southern China as well as in many other countries of the world. It is a very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -7°c, with one report saying it can tolerate occasional temperatures as low as -18°c[
]., though it dislikes prolonged exposure to hard frosts[
Succeeds in full sun and in dappled shade. Requires a rich damp soil in a sheltered sunny position[
] and plenty of moisture in the growing season[
There are many named forms of this species, some of them are given specific status by some botanists[
]. These forms include 'Boryana', 'Fulva', 'Henonis' and 'Punctata'. It is the form 'Henonis' (Phyllostachys nigra henonis) that is normally used medicinally in China[
This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[
New shoots are produced from late spring[
Dead stems can be removed at any time of the year[
]. It is also possible to thin the clumps in spring, leaving only the strongest stems and thus creating an open grove-like effect[
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[
]. Somewhat acrid when raw[
], they are prepared for eating by boiling in one change of water, the water being changed after 8 - 10 minutes[
]. A distinctive taste and aroma[
]. The shoots, which are about 5cm in diameter[
], are harvested in the spring when they are about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level.
The leaves are antipyretic and diuretic[
]. They are used internally in the treatment of fevers (especially infantile convulsions), vomiting and nosebleeds[
]. The leave are harvested during the growing season and dried for later use[
The juice of the stems is antipyretic, antitussive, expectorant and sedative[
]. It is taken internally in the treatment of lung infections with cough and phlegm[
]. The sap is pressed from young stems in the summer and then dried for later use[
The epidermis of the stem bark is antiemetic, depurative and sedative[
]. It is used internally in the treatment of vomiting, nosebleeds, coughs etc[
]. The epidermis is collected from young stems in the summer and is dried for later use[
The root is astringent, antipyretic, diuretic and styptic[
]. It has been used in the treatment of rabies[
]. The roots are harvested in the winter and dried for later use[
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 canes make good plant supports. Thin walled but durable, the canes are also used for cabinet work and for decorative panels and inlays[
The rhizome is used in making umbrella handles, wickerwork, canes, musical instruments and various kinds of handicrafts[
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.