How do I know what bamboo I have?

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Black Dog
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How do I know what bamboo I have?

Post by Black Dog »

Last year I bought some black bamboo off the Facebook market place. it’s the first and only bamboo I’ve ever had. The seller didn’t know what it was and even told me it was the clumping type. Luckily I had at least researched a little bit so I actually knew it was the running type before I bought it. I was pretty sure it was Phyllostacys Nigra and I still think that. But now, since joining this forum I’ve discovered there’s more than one variety!
So my question is how do I know what I’ve got?
Also when it flowers do ALL the varieties flower?
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needmore
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Re: How do I know what bamboo I have?

Post by needmore »

First thing is to check to the presence or lack thereof, of a sulcus. The sulcus is a groove in the culm that jumps from one side to the opposite at each branch node. When the culm is but an emerging shoot it telescopes vertically, branchless. In the Phyllostachys genus there is a bud on that shoot that eventually fires to form the branches. When the branchles shoot is going up that bud sort of scrapes into the culm creating a vertically running groove between branches/nodes. Branches jump from one side to another at each node, thus the sulcus does as well.

If your culms have a sulcus and it is black bamboo then it is most likely Phyllostachys nigra, a running form. If you can not find any sulcus on any culms and it is black then you need to start considering the forms of black clumping bamboo.
Brad Salmon, zone 12B Kea'au, HI
http://www.needmorebamboo.com
Black Dog
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Re: How do I know what bamboo I have?

Post by Black Dog »

Yes it does have that. That’s how I identified it as Phyllostacys Nigra, but I’ve since found out there’s lots of different forms or cultivars. How do I know what mine is?
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needmore
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Re: How do I know what bamboo I have?

Post by needmore »

I don't think that you'll be able to tell. I feel that some of the named cultivars of P nigra are just P nigra that looks a little different and or turns black differently, and the turning black thing is very environmental to your particular location.
Brad Salmon, zone 12B Kea'au, HI
http://www.needmorebamboo.com
dependable
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Re: How do I know what bamboo I have?

Post by dependable »

If it is a Phyllostachys(which is a genus), it is not necessarily P nigra(a species of Phyllostachys). The best way to identify one species of Phyllostachys from another is to see color and pattern of newly sprouted culm sheaths(the outer covering of new shoots).

However, if it is a Phyllostachys, and its older culms are black, it most likely is P nigra. New culms start out green, and they turn black after time, but only in sun.
Black Dog
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Re: How do I know what bamboo I have?

Post by Black Dog »

It’s definitely black. It has the groove on it. I’m in Australia, the summers can be very hot but the winters are quite cold. Frosts, very cold winds and temp close to 0°C, snows on the nearby hills occasionally but never quite here. I don’t think a more tropical bamboo would survive so I’m sure it’s Phyllostacys Nigra. I wish I could post a photo but I don’t know how.
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Re: How do I know what bamboo I have?

Post by dependable »

Pretty sure you're right. If you were up north in the tropics, then I'd wonder if it was P nigra, but if it gets close to frost where you are, it should do well there.

To post photos, I think you need to re size picture into smaller pixel format with a photo program and drag into "upload attachments" section below. It will not accept full size, un formatted attachments.
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