Monday, January 9, 2012

A Bamboo with Flowers!

Large bamboo culms

Dried up flowers of bikal
Small flowers
Bamboo is a grass indeed.  And since it is grass, it should flower like any other.  But it was only yesterday that I have seen the actual flowers of a bamboo species.  I read somewhere that most cultivated bamboos are rare to bloom.  So I  have never seen bamboo to flower in any garden. But it appears that wild species often do. Also I was told that there were only 5 species of native erect bamboos.  It seems we have many more than just anos (Schizostachyum lima), buho (Schizostachyum lumampao), bayog (Bambusa sp. syn Dendrocalamus merrillianus), laak (Bambusa sp.) and puser (Cyrtochloa puser).

Dried up culms
I was with members of PNPCSI early Sunday in Subic and we stumbled upon specimens of Schizostachyum bamboo, which is said to be probably bikal or Schizostachyum diffusum by my botanist companions.  Some culms appear to have flowered.  But they are in a state of disarray. Some of the individual culm shoots have dried out and were split open.  Majority of them have fallen which is why we saw the structure of the dry flowers. The inflorescence is big but the individual flowers are very small. 

Split culms
At this time, there are a lot of the dried up bamboo clusters in the Subic forest.  A blog friend, Alex Paglinawan, told me that bamboo has a dormant period, which is about this season, when they seize growth.  Bamboos are suppose to be one of the fastest growing plants.  Does it mean that when they are in their flowering season they halt development and turn their energy to bringing out the inflorescence.  I am not a botanist so I would need to confirm this with the plant experts.

But hopefully after a few months, the bamboss will again resume their growth. I look forward to the growing season when the Subic bamboos will again pick up growth and bring out fresh healthy culms. The forests will turn from the sparsed with yellow color to green once more.


Andrea said...

We have bamboo areas in the marginal side of the property which has grown large and conquering the nearby zones. It has helped a lot of construction and provided lots of dried 'lawo' for weddings. We haven't sold any from it, they just ask my mother they will get some. I think it is kawayang tinik, with very long stems. Do you think it also flowers, is it native to the country? thanks.

metscaper said...

I was told that Bambusa blumeana or kawayang tinik is not native, an introduced species from indonesia.