Bamboo plants

The bamboos are a group of woody perennial evergreen (except for certain temperate species) plants in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Some are giant bamboos, the largest members of the grass family. Bamboos are the fastest growing woody plants in the world. Their growth rate (up to 60 centimeters (24 in.)/day) is due to a unique rhizome-dependent system, but is highly dependent on local soil and climate conditions. They are of economic and high cultural significance in East Asia and South East Asia where they are used extensively in gardens, as a building material, and as a food source.

Unlike trees, all bamboos grow to full height and girth in a single growing season of 34 months. During this first year the young shoots strike skyward supported by photosynthesis from the rest of the clump with no time to sprout their own branches and leaves. Over the next year the pulpy wall of each culm slowly dries and hardens, sprouting branches and leaves during the second year from juvenile sheathes that form from each node. Over the following year the culm hardens still further shedding its juvenile sheaths and commencing its life as a fully mature culm. Over the next 25 years depending on species, fungus and mould begin to form on the outside of the culm, eventually penetrating and overcoming the culm so that by around culms are ready for harvest and suitable for use in construction from 3 - 7 years.