Bamboos are a diverse group of evergreen perennial flowering plants in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family. The origin of the word “bamboo” is uncertain, but it probably comes from the Dutch or Portuguese language, which originally borrowed it from Malay or Kannada.
Bamboos include some of the fastest-growing plants in the world, due to a unique rhizome-dependent system. Certain species of bamboo can grow 91 centimetres (36 inches) within a 24-hour period, at a rate of almost 40 millimeters (1+1⁄2 in) an hour (equivalent to 1 mm every 90 seconds). This rapid growth and tolerance for marginal land, make bamboo a good candidate for Distribution
Most bamboo species are native to warm and moist tropical and to warm temperate climates. However, many species are found in diverse climates, ranging from hot tropical regions to cool mountainous regions and highland cloud forests.
In this article, Pritish Kumar explains each and every point related to Bamboo.
The two general patterns for the growth of bamboo are “clumping”, and “running”, with short and long underground rhizomes, respectively. Clumping bamboo species tend to spread slowly, as the growth pattern of the rhizomes is to simply expand the root mass gradually, similar to ornamental grasses. “Running” bamboos, though, need to be controlled during cultivation because of their potential for aggressive behavior. They spread mainly through their rhizomes, which can spread widely underground and send up new culms to break through the surface.
Bamboos include some of the fastest-growing plants on Earth, with reported growth rates up to 910 mm (36 in) in 24 hours. However, the growth rate is dependent on local soil and climatic conditions, as well as species, and a more typical growth rate for many commonly cultivated bamboos in temperate climates is in the range of 30–100 mm (1–4 in) per day during the growing period. Primarily growing in regions of warmer climates during the late Cretaceous period, vast fields existed in what is now Asia. Some of the largest timber bamboo can grow over 30 m (100 ft) tall, and be as large as 250–300 mm (10–12 in) in diameter.
Because bamboo can grow on otherwise marginal land, bamboo can be profitably cultivated in many degraded lands. Moreover, because of the rapid growth, bamboo is an effective climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration crop, absorbing between 100 and 400 tonnes of carbon per hectare. In 1997, an international intergovernmental organization was established to promote the development of bamboo cultivation.
Harvesting of bamboo is typically undertaken according to these cycles:
1)Lifecycle of the culm: As each individual culm goes through a 5- to 7-year lifecycle, culms are ideally allowed to reach this level of maturity prior to full capacity harvesting. The clearing out or thinning of culms, particularly older decaying culms, helps to ensure adequate light and resources for new growth. Well-maintained clumps may have a productivity three to four times that of an
unharvested wild clump. Consistent with the lifecycle described above, bamboo is harvested from two to three years through to five to seven years, depending on the species.
2)Annual cycle: As all growth of new bamboo occurs during the wet season, disturbing the clump during this phase will potentially damage the upcoming crop. Also, during this high-rainfall period, sap levels are at their highest, and then diminish towards the dry season. Picking immediately prior to the wet/growth season may also damage new shoots. Hence, harvesting is best a few months prior to the start of the wet season.
3)Daily cycle: During the height of the day, photosynthesis is at its peak, producing the highest levels of sugar in sap, making this the least ideal time of day to harvest. Many traditional practitioners believe the best time to harvest is at dawn or dusk on a waning moon.
The shoots of most species are edible either raw or cooked, with the tough sheath removed; cooking removed the slightly bitter taste. The shoots are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, in both fresh and canned versions
Bamboo charcoal is charcoal made from species of bamboo. Bamboo charcoal is typically made from the culms or refuse of mature bamboo plants and burned in ovens at temperatures ranging from 600 to 1200 °C. It is an especially porous charcoal, making it useful in the manufacture of activated carbon
Bamboo was used by humans for various purposes from a very early time. Categories of bamboo working include.
Bamboo was in widespread use in early China as a medium for written documents. The earliest surviving examples of such documents, written in ink on string-bound bundles of bamboo strips (or “slips”), date from the 5th century BC during the Warring States period. However, references in earlier texts surviving on other media make it clear that some precursor of these Warring States period bamboo slips was in use as early as the late Shang period.
In olden times, people in India used hand-made pens (known as Kalam or boru (बोरू)) made from thin bamboo sticks (with diameters of 5–10 mm and lengths of 100–150 mm) by simply peeling them on one side and making a nib-like pattern at the end. The pen would then be dipped in ink for writing.
Since the fibers of bamboo are very short (less than 3 mm or 1⁄8 in), they are not usually transformed into yarn by a natural process. The usual process by which textiles labeled as being made of bamboo are produced uses only rayon made from the fibers with heavy employment of chemicals.
Bamboo textile is any cloth, yarn or clothing made from bamboo fibers. While historically used only for structural elements, such as bustles and the ribs of corsets
In China and India, bamboo was used to hold up simple suspension bridges, either by making cables of split bamboo or twisting whole culms of sufficiently pliable bamboo together. One such bridge in the area of Qian-Xian is referenced in writings dating back to 960 AD and may have stood since as far back as the third century BC, due largely to continuous maintenance. Bamboo has also long been used as scaffolding; the practice has been banned in China for buildings over six stories, but is still in continuous use for skyscrapers in Hong Kong.
Bamboo has often been used to construct weapons and is still incorporated in several Asian martial arts.