A man is born in a bamboo cradle and goes away in a bamboo coffin. Everything in between is possible with bamboo! (Anon)
Technically, bamboos are grasses but some species are very tree-like in appearance and are often called “bamboo trees”.
Altogether, studies have identified 1575 bamboo species – herbaceous bamboos are usually small and resemble grass, while woody bamboos (depending on the species) can grow up to 40m tall and 30cm in diameter, hence the reason they are often confused for “trees”.
Bamboo is a fast growing natural resource with an unsurpassed rate of biomass generation in the plant kingdom.
Guinness World Records states that the world record for the fastest growing plant on earth belongs to a certain bamboo species that grows up to 91cm (35″) per day, almost 4cm (1.5″) and hour, or travelling at 0.00003km/h (0.00002mph).
As it was a quickly renewable resource, this tall, hearty grass people used for as many products as they could manage.
Unlike all trees, individual bamboo culms emerge from the ground at their full diameter and grow to their full height in a single growing season of three to four months.
During these several months, each new shoot grows vertically into a culm with no branching out until reaching the mature height.
It then persists for several years, gradually increasing the number of side branches and branchlets, but neither growing broader or taller.
Another important difference is that bamboos don’t have a bark as trees do, they have protective leaves around the culm (culm sheaths) in their early stages of development.
Many tropical bamboo species die at or near freezing temperatures, while some of the hardier temperate bamboos can survive temperatures as low as −29 °C (−20 °F).
An extraordinary example of bamboo’s resilience is that it was the only plant to survive the radiation of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.
The incinerating heat destroyed all trees and other plant life, except for one bamboo grove. The grove has gone but culms from the grove are preserved in a museum in Hiroshima.
There has been a search for an answer to the heavy usage of timber and in Bamboo we have the answer – from bamboo paper to bamboo clothing.
Bamboo is easy to produce and environmentally friendly too.
Bamboo is becoming more and more popular with businesses and consumers alike who use it all over the world to help reduce the destruction of trees that can take decades to grow back.
The Wise Man’s Timber