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Old 2006-09-13, 20:30   #1
xilman
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Yes, I am comparing apples with apples.

Brief response: cladistics.

Longer response, grasses and bamboos are very closely related from an evolutionary and genetic standpoint. Classification into families and classes hasn't really caught up yet.

Paul
To be honest, biological classification of bamboos is a complete mess. There are good reasons why it is a mess, but nonetheless it is a mess.

Over the last few decades genera have been invented in profusion and species have been moved around like crazy. Some species disappear and others merge and yet others split into two or more species.

A large part of the reason why it's in a mess is that many bamboo species flower only very infrequently, if at all. Because of the economic importance of bamboo,many species and, indeed, individual plants have been observed for centuries. Some of them have never been seen to flower. An important part of the definition of a species is that individuals can interbreed to produce fertile offspring. If the individuals go for centuries or more before breeding ...

If you want to get seriously confused, track the membership of the Arundinaria genus over the last century. If you want to get only slightly confused, investigate why what is currently known as Phyllostachys nigra is almost certainly mis-named. Nigra, of course, indicates that blackness plays an important role. Indeed, most P. nigra individuals have stems which are very dark, some almost black. However, the "Henonis" variety has pure green stems. There is extremely strong evidence that Henonis is the true form of the species and that the black ones are mutants which have been propagated because people think they look nicer. P. phyllostachys "Henonis" is just another green Phyllostachys and rather hard to distinguish from other such species in the genus. I have 3 other such green Phyllostachys plants. I'm fairly confident that they are P. humilis, but it's hard to be certain.

I also have at least four species of Fargesia, a clump-forming temperate bamboo in my garden. (Incidentally, Fargesia species are extremely hardy, many shrugging off temperatures of -20C or below). I've undoubtedly got F. robusta, F. rufa, F. murielae and F. nitida. I have three other plants which are fairly clearly from the Fargesia genus.

Fargesia nitiida started flowering just over 25 years ago and almost all of its generation is either dead or flowering. I've a row of very nearly dead individuals, all of which started flowering three summers ago. Mine didn't set seed but I collected a goodly number from the plants in Pembroke College Cambridge.

I also have one plant which is almost certainly F. nitida of the old generation which hasn't begun flowering yet. I've another young Fargesia which looks very much like F. nitida but might just be from the next generation. The fact that it hasn't yet put up any new culms this year (Fargesia are generally autumn sprouting) makes me worry that it may flower in the next year or so.

The final plant was sold to me as Fargesia "Jui" (the quotes were part of the original description). It looks extremely similar to F. nitida, but it put up 8 culms in June or so, and another 4 in the last 2-3 weeks. The bamboo experts seem to be moving towards a consensus that various individual plants sold and/or collected under this or similar names probably form a species (or possibly several species) that is (are) distinct from F. nitida.

Not until a large number of grasses and bamboos have their DNA fully sequenced will the correct classification and interrelationships become apparent.


Ok, so this is probably vastly more information about the biological classification of bamboos than you wanted. The message to take away is two-fold: classification into different genera, phylla and classes can be hard and (partly because of the first) a published classification doesn't always tell you very much about how closely related two organisms are to each other from a genetic and evolutionary standpoint.


Hmm, perhaps this ought to be in a "Happy bamboo" thread.

Paul

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2006-09-13 at 20:43 Reason: Hit post button too early 8-(
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Old 2006-09-14, 19:04   #2
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At Paul's semi-suggestion I split this thread off from the evolution thread which spawned it - but as is often the case with bamboo-oriented webforum discussions, I fear the potential for panda-monium. If indeed some rowdy melanoleucid Ailuropod comes stalking around, eats, shoots and leaves (as they are wont to do), I suppose we'll have to simply grin and bear it.
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Old 2006-10-24, 00:04   #3
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http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm

Search Google using "calfee bamboo" for tons of images and links. They have even made a bamboo tandem.
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Old 2006-10-24, 08:28   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm

Search Google using "calfee bamboo" for tons of images and links. They have even made a bamboo tandem.
That is beautiful!


Paul
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Old 2007-01-20, 15:18   #5
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http://www.ifloor.com/articles/bamboo/foryou2.html
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Old 2007-01-20, 17:03   #6
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A nice page, and thanks for posting it. I learned something.

However, please beware: it is a very clever and very informative advertisement. It is not entirely correct in many ways.

In particular, the statements about growth rates, height, and so forth are very misleading.

For instance, very few temperate bamboos grow more than five metres high or have culms more than a few centimetres across. The floors that site is trying to sell come from tropical bamboos which are indeed as big as good sized tree trunks. At the other end of the scale, I've two different species of bamboo in my collection which never grow more than 30cm high.

Another claim made on that site is "Bamboo is actually a grass", which from a biological point of view is just plain wrong. Bamboos are closely related to grasses, it is true, but they are also quite distinct and easy tio distinguish. (In case you're interested, bamboos have branches, grasses have a single stem.) The claim made is analogous to saying "spiders are actually insects" --- both are arthropods and are closely related in many ways but are quite distinct in others.


Paul
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Old 2007-01-21, 13:41   #7
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Thanks for the clarification.

We have a little fenced in plot of grass out back of our townhouse. We're very tempted to plant some crazy bamboo there and let it make a forest. A friend of ours who is a landscape architect told us that would be a dumb idea because the bamboo would take over the whole neighborhood. (We wouldn't mind that!) Our only goal is to create some shade and block the view.
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Old 2007-01-21, 14:14   #8
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Thanks for the clarification.

We have a little fenced in plot of grass out back of our townhouse. We're very tempted to plant some crazy bamboo there and let it make a forest. A friend of ours who is a landscape architect told us that would be a dumb idea because the bamboo would take over the whole neighborhood. (We wouldn't mind that!) Our only goal is to create some shade and block the view.
More clarification is in order, it would appear.

Some bamboos run like crazy. Some bamboos are clump-forming and are very well behaved. Some bamaboos are technically runners but in cool climates as we get here in Britain they tend to behave as if they are clumping bamboos.

The Fargesia genus, which contains several very good species for temperate gardens, are exclusively clumping. You'd have no trouble with those.

Phyllostachys bamboos are well-behaved here and need no special controls. Where you are in NC is markedly warmer and you'd have to keep an eye on them but they could be controlled fairly easily.

Sasa, Sasaella, Pseudosasa and Pleioblastus genera are all runners and the Sasa species especially so. If you're going to grow them, you must take appropriate precautions. There's no way I'm going to grow Sasa palmata or Sasa nebulosa in my garden and I'd be wary of keeping them in tubs --- there are several horror stories of them having escaped through the drainage hole and going on to infest the neighbourhood. My Sasaella and Pleioblastus specimens are all in a constrained area and my Pseudosasa japonica (which is not quite as virulent as the others) has a comprehensive inspection every spring and all wandering rhyzomes rigorously removed.

You really, really don't want a Sasa infestation. Not only would your neighbours feel like shooting you and/or suing you into insolvency, you would find that the only way to clear up the mess is with heavy earth-moving machinery and large quantities of very toxic chemicals.

If you're serious about growing bamboo, I can give further advice on what would be suitable and what you can expect from them.


Paul
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Old 2007-01-22, 21:47   #9
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Awesome info! (And scary too! Are you sure we aren't talking about ferrets?)

What I want is a clump of "something" in each corner of my minute plot of land. It is fenced in with a 4ft fence. I'd like it to be kind of tall, to block noise, and I'd like it to be hardy, with very little maintenance required. I'd like whatever is planted there to last for years if possible.

Basically, I want to add a little shade and privacy. Everyone around here uses this really whacky decorative grass that grows like 12ft tall. I want to be a little different.

On one of my rides I pass by this really fancy house that has a literal bamboo forest in front of it. You can't even see through it, which I expect is their intention. I can't guesstimate how tall it is, but it is surprisingly tall.

Is bamboo for me?
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Old 2007-01-23, 08:45   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
Awesome info! (And scary too! Are you sure we aren't talking about ferrets?)

What I want is a clump of "something" in each corner of my minute plot of land. It is fenced in with a 4ft fence. I'd like it to be kind of tall, to block noise, and I'd like it to be hardy, with very little maintenance required. I'd like whatever is planted there to last for years if possible.

Basically, I want to add a little shade and privacy. Everyone around here uses this really whacky decorative grass that grows like 12ft tall. I want to be a little different.

On one of my rides I pass by this really fancy house that has a literal bamboo forest in front of it. You can't even see through it, which I expect is their intention. I can't guesstimate how tall it is, but it is surprisingly tall.

Is bamboo for me?
Sounds like baboo is for you, but please go into it with your eyes open.

Based on what you say, I think that Phyllostachys bamboos would be most suitable. Black bamboo (P.nigra) is especially beautiful and will grow to about 5 or 6 metres high (mine is well over 4m at the moment). P. aureocaulis generally has bright yellow stems with pronounced 45-degree kinks in them. The one I have, unfortunately, remains a juvenile and is only about 1.5m high with thin stems but with lots of them. I expect it to grow up eventually, whereupon the stems will be 3-5cm thick and 4-6m tall. P. aurea is a good, easy to grow and easy to obtain bamboo and has very beautiful dense foliage; it reaches 4m or so here. P. bambusoides is the Japanese timber bamboo and will easily reach 10-12m in a good climate (as I guess you have) but only around 6-7m around here. Its culms can easily be 8-10cm thick. The downside of this species is that it tends to wander a bit more than the other three.

If you plant running bamboos, I very strongly recommend that you dig a trench about 50cm deep around the boundary of your property. Then put in an impenetrable plastic barrier to the full depth, leaving a few cm above ground level and refill the trench. Pay particular attention to where pieces of the barrier overlap --- make sure there is a goodly overlap and that the material is pressed close together without gaps where wandering rhizomes could escape. The heavy-duty butyl-rubber sheet sold for lining fish ponds and swimming pools works well.

Once you've stopped them escaping onto neighbouring land, it's relatively easy to keep the wandering rhizomes under control. All you have to do is observe where the shoots are coming up and decide whether just to snip off the shoots or to dig down and prune the rhizomes. By and large, bamboos are easily propagated from lengths of rhizome and if you pot them up you'll end up with new plants either to use elsewhere or to give away. The new divisions won't grow as big as their parents for a few years, but they'll get there.

Of course, if you stick to clumping bamboos you won't need the barriers to keep them constrained to your own property but neither will you get a thick grove anywhere near so quickly and it will cost you much more money to buy a number of plants if you want instant ground coverage.


Paul
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Old 2007-01-23, 15:12   #11
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In case this helps:

http://picasaweb.google.com/michael.vang/Bamboo

As you can see, we have very little land to work with. The ground tends to be very wet back here due to the runoff from the hill. Even after a week or so after a rain the ground will be a bit soggy. We don't know if that is going to be a problem or not. There is no shade back here other than from the house, so from noon until sundown it is straight sunlight. We're not allowed to let anything grow outside the fence. Personally, we don't care if the "forest" takes up the whole darn area inside the fence. We just need to leave a little room around the air conditioner, for maintenance access, and room to get in and out. The gate opens outward. Our electrical and gas meter is read via radio so no access is needed there.

Our climate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raleigh...rolina#Climate

We're looking forward to your analysis of our bambooability.
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