Bambusa bambos (L.) Voss

Bambusa bambos (L.) Voss




Arundo bambos L., Bambusa arundinacea (Retzius) Willd., Bambusa spinosa Roxb.

Vernacular Names

English Spiny bamboo, thorny bamboo.
Indonesia Bambu duri (Indonesian), pring ori (Javanese).
Philippines Indian bamboo.
Burma (Myanmar) Kya-kat-wa.
Cambodia Rüssèi khléi, rüssèi préi.
Laos Phaix pa:x.
Thailand Phai-pa (General), phai-nam.
Vietnam Tre l[af] ng[af], tre gai r[uw]ng.

Geographical Distributions

Bambusa bambos is native from India to southern China, including Thailand and Indo-China. It is also cultivated throughout the tropics, in Southeast Asia especially in East Java, Singapore, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.


B. bambos is a densely tufted and sympodial bamboo. It has erect culm that can reach up to 30 m tall and measuring 15-18 cm in diametre with a very thick wall but sometimes almost solid in the upper part of culm and distal parts of branches. The internodes are usually 20-40 cm long where they are bright green. The nodes are slightly swollen where the lower ones is sometimes with aerial roots.

The branches developed from all nodes, which the lower branches are spreading, spine-like, bearing recurved spines, form a dense and nearly impenetrable thicket in the lower part of the clump. The upper leafy branches are horizontal or ascending and bearing small spines, or spineless. The spines are usually in groups of 3.

The culm sheath measuring 15-35 cm x 18-30 cm, coriaceous, wrinkled at the top, brown hairy when young, hairless when old and deciduous at the time the branches developed. The ligule is continuous with top sheath, measures 2 mm long and with a white ciliate. The blade is more or less reflexed, persistent and much shorter than the sheath, triangular with a broad sloping and wrinkled at the base on either side (constituting the auricles). The abaxially hairless except for the brown hairy wrinkled portion and the adaxially is densely dark-brown hairy.

The leaf blade is lance-shaped to linear, measuring 6-22 cm x 1-3 cm, smooth and slightly pale bluish-green beneath. The ligule is short and entire. There are small auricles that bearing a few bristles.

The inflorescences at the first terminate leafy branches and ultimately resulting in small clusters of pseudospikelets at the nodes of leafless branches. The spikelet is lance-shaped, measures about 2 cm long when mature, consists of 0-2 empty glumes, 3-7 fertile florets (the lower ones is hermaphrodite while the upper ones is male) and 1-3 imperfect florets. The caryopsis is ellipsoidal and measures 4-8 mm long.

Ecology / Cultivation

B. bambos prefers a humid tropical climate, grows best along river valleys and in other moist conditions. It is found most abundantly in mixed moist deciduous forests, not so commonly in mixed dry deciduous forests and in semi-evergreen forest on hills up to 1000 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 7: Bamboos.