Plantidote of the Day 2011-02-18
A few weeks ago, Correntian scoff had a great idea. He suggested a Plantidote on bamboo and its many uses! But wait -- that's not the only thing that can be made from bamboo. It's one of the most versatile plants in the world, with dozens of different varieties and uses.
Bamboo is just grass, but it varies in height from dwarf, one foot (30 cm) plants to giant timber bamboos that can grow to over 100 feet (30 m). It grows in many different climates, from jungles to high on mountainsides. Bamboos are further classified by the types of roots they have. Some, called runners, spread exuberantly, and others are classified as clumpers, which slowly expand from the original planting. There are also varieties of root systems that are a mixture of these types. Generally, the tropical bamboos tend to be clumpers and the temperate bamboos tend to be runners.
Bamboo is both decorative and useful. In many parts of the world it is food, fodder, the primary construction material and is used for making great variety of useful objects from kitchen tools, to paper to dinnerware.
Bamboo's only downside as a landscape plant is that it is determined to spread itself far and wide. Gardening books often recommend digging trenches or planting metal or concrete barriers to block the roots' growth. Apparently, bamboo has never read these books. In my experience, bamboo laughs at any attempts to corral it, going over, around or under them without even blinking.
One solution is to grow bamboo in containers, either indoors or out. It makes an exceptionally beautiful house plant -- tall, graceful and very easy to maintain, as long as you match the bamboo variety to your home's circumstances (low vs. plentiful light, humidity, etc.) For more information, check out the American Bamboo Society , World Bamboo or the Environmental Bamboo Foundation.
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Readers, please send twig (firstname.lastname@example.org) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.
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