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Bambusa vulgaris Schrader ex Wendland

Bambusa vulgaris Schrader ex Wendland




Bambusa thouarsii Kunth, Bambusa surinamensis Ruprecht, Leleba vulgaris (Schrader ex Wendland) Nakai.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Buloh minyak, buloh kuning (Peninsular), tamelang (Sabah).
English Common bamboo.
Indonesia Bambu kuning (Yellow culms), bambu ampel (Green culms), domar (Ambonese).
Philippines Kauayan-kiling (Tagalog), kabaloan (Bikol), butong (Visaya).
Burma (Myanmar) Wanet.
Cambodia Rüssèi kaèw.
Laos S'a:ng kh'am'.
Thailand Phai-luang (General), phai-ngachang (Peninsular).
Vietnam Phai-bongkham (Northern), tre m[owx], tre tr[owf].
French Grand bambou.

Geographical Distributions

Bambusa vulgaris originated in the Old World, probably in tropical Asia. It is arguably the most widely cultivated bamboo throughout the tropics and subtropics, but it is also found spontaneously or naturalised on river banks. In Southeast Asia, it is the most commonly encountered cultivated bamboo, found everywhere in villages, on river banks and also as an ornamental in towns.


B. vulgaris is a sympodial bamboo with erect culm, sinuous or slightly zig-zag, measures 10-20 m tall, measuring 4-10 cm in diametre, wall measures 7-15 mm thick, glossy green and yellow, or yellow with green stripes. The internodes are 20-45 cm long with appressed dark hairs and white waxy when young and become hairless, smooth and shiny with age. The nodes are oblique and slightly swollen while the basal is covered with aerial roots.

The branches arise from midculm upward nodes, occasionally also at the lower nodes and with several to many at each node with a primary branch dominant.

The culm sheath is more or less broadly triangular, measuring 15-45 cm x 20 cm where the upper one is the longest, deciduous, light green or stramineous, covered with appressed black hairs, hairy at the margins and slightly rounded apex at the junction with the blade. The blade is erect, broadly triangular, measuring 4-5 cm x 5-6 cm, slightly narrowed at the junction with the sheath, acuminate stiffy, hairy on both surfaces and along the lower part of the margins.

The ligule is 3 mm long and slightly serrated. The auricles are relatively large, measure 0.5-2 cm long and with pale brown bristles measure 3-8 mm long along the edges. The auricles which have small rounded lobes are 0.5-1.5 mm long and with some bristles measure 1-3 mm long. The young shoots are yellow-green and covered with black hairs. The leaf blade measuring 6-30 cm x 1-4 cm and hairless. The subentire rim ligule is 0.5-1.5 mm long.

The inflorescence is usually borne on a leafless branch of a leafless culm or on a culm that with small leaves and bearing small groups of pseudospikelets at the nodes measure 2-6 cm apart. The spikelet measuring 12-19(-35) mm x 4-5 mm, laterally flattened and comprises of 5-10 perfect florets with a terminal vestigial floret. The caryopsis is not known.

Ecology / Cultivation

B. vulgaris can be found growing pantropical from low elevation up to 1200 m altitude. It grows best at low altitudes; above 1000 m altitude where culms become smaller in length and diametre. It thrives under a wide range of moisture and soil conditions. Along rivers and lakes, it grows almost in permanently humid conditions, but it also grows in areas with a severe dry season where the plants become completely defoliated. It is frost hardy to -3°C. In Southeast Asia, the green-culm plants are widely naturalised on river banks, road sides, wastelands and open ground. In Peninsular Malaysia, it even grows well on degraded soils containing tin.

Line Drawing / Photograph



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

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