Bambusa nana

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Bambusa nana

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All of the foliage in this photo is from branches on a Bambusa nana cutting that was topped at about 3' - the height is a large branch bud that extended vertically about 8' I'd guess. Once I planted it, every dormant branch bud seemed to fire and some are quite long, I'd been watching for new shoots since it seems intent on generating folia mass for energy and one popped up about 10 days ago, it is now > 12 feet tall at about an inch. Hopefully subsequent, larger shoots will follow.
b nana.jpeg
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Re: Bambusa nana

Post by Glen »

Very nice growth! Was the cutting placed directly in the ground, or did you root it in a pot first?
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Re: Bambusa nana

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I bought a rooted culm division with no new shoots, it had already thrown that very long vertical branch when I got it, it was growing under a shade canopy. I planted it and it pretty quickly fired every branch bud I could see.

It is surprising to me to have what appears to be a 10' tall bamboo plant with a decent shape that is really a 3' tall bamboo plant with very long branches - maybe the sub tropicals do this, mine in CA did not.
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Re: Bambusa nana

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And here is that stubby single culm division about 11 months after planting.
b nana 8 0221.jpeg
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Re: Bambusa nana

Post by Saklo »

You've got a great fast-grower there! Now that it has some more mature growth, I'm curious to know if you've delved into what strain of Nana it might be. The page on the ongoing study in Chiang Mai of local permutations of this hybrid has been updated as late as this past summer. Taxonomy and photos at https://sites.google.com/view/bamboos-o ... amus-liang, in case you haven't seen it.
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Re: Bambusa nana

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Great link, thanks! I'll have to study it some to try and figure mine out, I'd like to get some of those 'Candy' forms!
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Re: Bambusa nana

Post by Saklo »

Cheers ... There is some irony here: Khun Dieter, a member here who is doing this work, suspects that the initial type to be given the "nana" moniker — the Quail Gardens specimen — is just a ringer for these common Thai "liang" bamboos and possibly an altogether separate species. He is suggesting it might properly belong in the Gigantochloa genus, and has provided extensive notes on it in a separate page in that section, which you can reach via the header dropdown menus — more for you to study. That Quail clone remains a true mystery plant, then — apparently the folks at the San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail) can't even verify that their specimen originated in Thailand ... Curiouser and curiouser.
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Re: Bambusa nana

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There are too many options on that list! I took photos of mine to compare and can't quite make a match. The more telling aspects of mine are a single dominant branch - very long, with a short leaf blade that is not so narrow and long as the others. But it also has fuzzy culms and the shoots are initially mauve, changing to a darker green with mauve edges, leaf buds wider than tall, a whiteish ring at the node. I almost recall some white stripes on it but the current new shoot has none yet.

My supplier says that his clones of mine are no where near as vigorous as mine which is about as vigorous as any bamboo I've grown thus far, I would say that S brachycladum is similar and impressive - these 2 for now are my very nicest bamboo. The Bali is just stunning, shooting like mad, upsizing quite fast, the 'Nana' in less than a year is right at a 2" diameter which suggests that it might be one of the larger forms. My best guess right now would be BS-0001-2 but not a dead on match so...

I'm surprised to hear that Khun thinks it might be a form of Gigantachloa, that is probably my dominant genus in my collection and I see similar aspects to the different forms I have and the Nana does not seem similiar in any way. I have the G Bali Whitestripe, Mangong, Pangjang, Atroviolacea, Sumatra, Maxima, Pseudoarundinacea, Luteostriata and an unknown bamboo that I think is a member of the genus - they all have hairy shoots in a similar way and the Nana shots are quite dissimilar.
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Re: Bambusa nana

Post by Saklo »

Yeah, it's a lot to digest and I'm still working on it too. But pause on the Gigantochloa association — by these notes, that's the suspected genus only if it's got a Quail provenance. If on the other hand it's the authentic liang, Dieter is proposing a new, crossover genus: Thyrsostachys + Dendrocalamus = Thyrsocalamus.

That's the first fork in the road: figuring on whether it's a Quail or a liang. And if you can rule out Quail in favor of liang (ask your vendor whether he can confirm his stock has a Thai provenance — a "yes" points to the liang species), check the culm sheaths. I'm no botanist and there's a lot of Greek-to-me in there, but I get the sense that there are two predominant liang strains, the dam ("dark") and the wan/bao ("sweet"/"light"). The "dark" has culm sheaths that are shorter than the internode, while the "light" tends to have sheaths that extend slightly above internode length. This would be my first move before focusing on any other characteristics.

From what I've read, I get the impression that the "dark" would be the more stable form. The "light" form seems to offer more variations and these may include some striping and a bit of sulcus groove. From what you report, similarities to BS-0001-2 (a "light" specimen) suggest yours would be in that latter camp. But again, I'm no expert, just learning as I go. At least you have something physical to examine! I've been tempted to get a piece of this puzzle for myself, if I can figure out where to put it.
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Re: Bambusa nana

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Just checked and on mine the culm leaves are well short of the nodes. Also, the original culm in the cutting is about 3cm diameter, cut off about 1m tall - totally solid at that point.
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Re: Bambusa nana

Post by Saklo »

Okay, here's something that might be helpful: For that something physical to examine, I went out to the nursery nearby, which is well stocked and offers 3 flavors of "nana."

• One is a young clump just a few years old that the nursery IDs as x Thyrsocalamus liang striata "Candy," which is described by Khun Dieter as a "liang dam" (dark) type, only striped instead of solid green (yeah, my earlier speculation about stripes was off base).
• The second is a clump a few years older and IDed by the nursery as x Thyrsocalamus liang wan "Honey"; this is the "sweet" or "light" type.
• The third, in much more mature clumps, is dubbed x Thyrsocalamus liang "Thai Beauty" — the nursery marketed this for several years as B. nana but recently renamed it. I am still awaiting word from the nursery on the provenance of this strain and whether it might have Quail Gardens ancestry.

I'm only going to focus on one feature, the auricles or "little ears" on either side of the leaf blade of each culm sheath. I gather that these offer key clues for ID purposes, as they remain rather consistent within a species regardless of age or growing conditions (characteristics such as size and color are more prone to variation). Pardon my crappy flip-phone photo, but these are the dried culm sheaths I collected from each type, L-R in the same order as listed. Dieter describes the auricles of liang bamboo generally as "inconspicuous, a waved, very short and very low rim, blackish when young, rarely with a few very short pale early caducous bristles" — you can make this out on the Candy and Honey sheaths at L and center.
3nanas.jpg

The auricles of the sheath at right, "Thai Beauty," are markedly different: they are more complex; they have a rimmed structure that forms a sort of cup. In Dieter's description of a Quail specimen (https://sites.google.com/view/bamboos-o ... a-sp-quail) the auricles are "low rims, extending from blade base towards but not reaching the margin of sheath, about 1–2 mm high, gradually increasing height to 2–3 mm and oval-shaped at their ends, blackish when young ..." And that fits the auricles here to a T — note especially that these raised rims don't quite reach the edge of the sheath. Due to that characteristic, I'm nearly certain that this eldest nursery example is a Quail clone. So check your culm sheaths against Khun Dieter's photo no. 60 of the Baan Sammi Quail specimen BS-0436 -- a much better view of the same auricle structure I saw in person. Also check his photo no. 25 of specimen BS-0606, a "Candy," and photos 22 and 24 of BS-0200, a "liang wan" for comparison with what I shot. The difference in auricle shape between his photos of the liang types and the Quail is striking and you ought to be able to make use of the distinction.

And because you mentioned it, I'll add something about the hairs on the culm sheaths. The Candy's attached sheaths had a thin coat of short pale hairs on them, while the hairs on fallen sheaths were brown — same-same Dieter's description of "liang dam" types. The "Honey" sheaths seemed mostly hairless both on and off the plant, but a close look at new-rising culms revealed just a sparse, pale fuzz -- Dieter writes of "liang wan" that "Culm-leaf sheaths in young shoots glabrous (i.e. hairless), or thinly covered with early caducous (i.e. 'early shedding') soft pale hairs" — exactly! As for the "Thai Beauty" I examined, the sheaths were all coated in bristly, persistent dark brown hairs, which concurs with Dieter's observations of the Quail type.
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Re: Bambusa nana

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The auricles on mine look more like the Thai Beauty but I look forward to comparing it to your suggestions, I find that aurciles can be difficult to explain but here is a photo of them, if you click the photos to enlarge it is easier to see, I bent the leaf blade upward to expose them more. So upon re-exam mine has coarse brown hairs on the sheathes while on the culm and after excision, at sheath fall the new culms are covered with white hair/fuzz over most of the internode and the sheath covers perhaps 2/3 of the internode.
nana sheath.jpeg

This is already a very attractive bamboo, here I've limbed up slightly as it did have foliage lower down.
nana roadside.jpeg
nana lakeside.jpeg
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Re: Bambusa nana

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At this point I'd have to speculate that I have the Quail clone, now what is it!

Check out the fuzz...
nana shoot.jpeg
nana fuzz.jpeg
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Re: Bambusa nana

Post by Saklo »

Now that's hairy — by your earlier mention I suspected you referred to a waxiness, but no, that's a fleece as white as snow, daddy-o. I think you're on the right track: Your photos so far do compare quite favorably with those offered by Khun Dieter of the BS Quail. A true mystery species and a gorgeous plant, whatever it is. I still can't say whether the Thai Beauty I saw here has Quail parentage — after asking twice and waiting most of a week, the nursery remains mum as to its origins. And that white fuzz on young internodes is something I never noticed on it — either the specimen here doesn't exhibit that characteristic or perhaps I showed up at the wrong time to catch sight of it, as I gather it is rather temporary.

Meanwhile some more idle speculation: Asking around, I learn that nana in Thai is a descriptive term that basically means "many," but in one of its senses connotes "wide variety." Maybe that has something to do with the original name, which is as yet unexplained. But then, the term reaches Western ears most commonly thanks to Nana Plaza, an "entertainment complex" off one of Bangkok's main drags that is one of the capital's sex-trade centers, and particularly geared to foreign tourists. The place was developed in the 1970s (I think) by a businessman named Nana. So alternatively, the importer or donor of the plant raised at Quail Gardens might've named it to commemorate certain social interactions of his visit ... OR — and this is also in the realm of the possible — it might even have been so named because the division was taken from an urban clump growing somewhere in that vicinity. Given time to kill in Bangkok, I'd look closely at what's growing down the side streets of that neighborhood, for curiosity's sake.
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Re: Bambusa nana

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Perhaps a bamboo collector in the Nana neighborhood stepped into an alley for some unknown reason and happened to notice the plant and thought 'I gotta get me some of that too' while I'm here.

It really is a beautiful bamboo, along with S brachycladum I thus far have seen none that can compare to these two and it would be great to learn what it is but a rose is a rose by any name...
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