Bambusa spinosa

Bambusa spinosa Roxb.


Bambusa spinosa, ไผ่สรีสุก (phai si suk) [CM-001]: Habit of a clump from Doi Saket district, Chiang Mai prov., in cultivation (left). Culm sheath (right).

  • Synonym: Bambusa blumeana Schult. f.
  • Thai name: ไผ่สีสุก (phai si suk). Malay name: Buloh duri.
  • English name: Barbed Wire Bamboo.
  • Distribution: THAILAND, introduced in early times, naturalized and cultivated, in open areas at low elevations, often along streams, ditches, and around villages; MALAYSIA; INDO­NESIA; PHILIPPINES; VIETNAM; CHINA (South, probably introduced). Possibly, this species is a native of Indonesia and Malaysia where it originates from Java, Sumatra and Borneo, but has become naturalized in many countries of South-East Asia over the centuries during the process of deforestation.
  • Local distribution: In the Chiang Mai area, frequently planted in villages and on fields, found naturalized along rivers and canals. Plants seasonally but rarely offered at Kham Thiang Market for sale.

Line drawing of upper section of culm leaf 
of Bambusa spinosa, from Flora of China,
as "Bambusa blumeana"


  • Culm size: 20 - 25 m height, 8 - 12 (15) cm diameter.
  • Descriptions:
    (1) "Culms tall, close ranked, up to 10 cm. in diameter, young internodes glabrous, branching from all nodes from the base upwards, lower branches thorny. Culm-sheaths up to 30 cm. tall, with loose dark brown hairs on the back, blades more or less reflexed, densely hairy becoming glabrous on the back, with longitudinal rows of persistent hairs on the front, auricles fringed with stiff bristles, ligule 5 mm. tall, fringed with bristles; leaf-blades 20 x 2 cm., base broadly cuneate above the short stalk, sometimes short-hairy below, auricles small sometimes bristly, ligule short, sometimes with stiff bristles at the ends. ..." — H. B. Gilliland, Revised Flora of Malaya, vol. 3, 1971: p. 18, as "Bambusa blumeana" [#1039].
    (2) "Culm sheaths pale green to orange-pink; non-waxy; with dark brown hairs all over; auricles spreading lobes, 2–5 mm high, densely long-bristly on the inner surface and margins, the bristles dark brown and 4–25 mm long; ligule a low rim c. 3 mm high with pale bristles 5–6 mm long on the margin; blade broadly to narrowly lanceolate, erect at lower nodes, spreading on all sheaths at middle to upper nodes, green. Culms to 30 m tall, slightly outarched, 6–10 cm diameter; internodes 13–35 cm long, white-waxy, glabrous, green; lower branches slender, developing spines (short indurated axillary branches) at the nodes, forming an entangled thicket-like growth. Leaf: blade 6–22 cm long, 1.5–3 cm wide, glabrous; auricles tiny lobes c. 0.5 mm long with scattered bristles 1–2 mm long or glabrous; ligule a subentire rim c. 1 mm high, sometimes with a few bristles 1–2 mm long ... [flowers described]." — K. M. Wong, Bamboos of Peninsular Malaysia, 1995: p. 88-90, fig. 38-40, as "Bambusa blumeana" [#1210].
    (3) "... caespitose. Rhizomes short; pachymorph. Culms erect; 50–100 mm diam.; woody; with root thorns from the nodes. Culm-internodes terete; hollow; distally glabrous. Lateral branches dendroid; spreading. Buds or branches present on lower quarter of culm. Culm-sheaths 15–30 cm long; hispid; with dark brown hairs; auriculate; ciliate on shoulders. Culm-sheath ligule 5 mm high; ciliate. Culm-sheath blade ovate; narrower than sheath; reflexed; pubescent; acute. Leaf-sheath oral hairs lacking, or ciliate. Leaf-sheath auricles falcate. Ligule an eciliate membrane. Collar with external ligule. Leaf-blade base cuneate, or truncate; with a brief petiole-like connection to sheath. Leaf-blades lanceolate; 10–20 cm long; 10–20 mm wide. ... [flowers and seeds described]." — Kew GrassBase, as "Bambusa blumeana".
    (4) "Culms 15–24 m, 8–15 cm in diam., apically nodding; basal internodes slightly flexuose, green, 25–35 cm, distally initially sparsely strigose, later glabrous; wall 20–30 mm thick; each node of lower culm with a ring of aerial roots or root primordia, with a gray or brown sericeous ring below and above sheath scar. Branches to base, solitary on lower nodes, with branchlets usually forming tough, sharp, curved thorns and densely interwoven. Branches 3 to several on upper nodes, central markedly longer and thicker. Culm sheaths tardily deciduous, apex broadly convex or concave, with a triangular protuberance on each shoulder, densely stiffly brown hairy; auricles usually reflexed, crescent-shaped, linear-oblong, slightly unequal; oral setae dense, pale brown, curved, long, thick; ligule 4–5 mm, laciniate, fimbriate; blade usually reflexed, ovate to narrowly ovate, abaxially strigose, adaxially densely stiffly dull brown hairy, base ca. 2/5 as wide as sheath apex, margins ciliate. Ultimate branches with 5–9 leaves; leaf blade linear-lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, 10–20 × 1.2–2.5 cm, both surfaces scabrid, mainly subglabrous but abaxially densely villous near base. ... [flowers described]. New shoots Jun–Sep, fl. spring." — Flora of China, as "Bambusa blumeana".
  • Images: Line drawing Flora of China; Photos plantjdx.com (culms, branches).
  • Uses: Shoots for food, culms for construction and scaffolding, plants for protective screening and wind-break. Plants along boundaries serve as a living, impenetrable barrier to people and life-stock.
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  • Specimens: CM-001, Chiang Mai, Doi Saket, T. Pa Lan, Ban Pa Yang Poi, near rice-field, alt. 300 m, Sep. 2008.
  • Characters: Culms and branches thorny; branches often form an impenetrable thicket around the base of old clumps; culm sheaths with dark-brown hairs.

Bambusa spinosa 'Wei-Fang Lin'
  • Synonym: Bambusa blumeana 'Wei-Fang Lin'
  • Distribution: THAILAND: Prachin Buri, cultivated (acc. to Mr. Siraphop, pers. comm., 22 Sep. 2012). CHINA: Taiwan.
  • Characters: Culm and branch internodes bright golden yellow, gradually turning orange-yellow with deep green stripes; culm sheaths pale green with a few cream or yellowish stripes.

Bambusa spinosa 'Si Khong Phrasong'
  • Synonym: Bambusa blumeana 'Si Khong Phrasong'
  • Thai name: ไผ่สีของพระสงฆ์ (phai si khong phrasong).
  • Distribution: THAILAND: Chiang Mai, cultivated.
  •  
  • Specimens: BS-0186 (living plant), received from a nursery in Chiang Mai, Oct. 2008.
  • Characters: Culm and branch internodes bright orange (without green stripes).
  • Comments: Possibly somewhat less tall in ultimate size.

Bambusa spinosa 'Black'
  • Synonym: Bambusa blumeana 'Black'
  • Thai name: ไผ่สีสุกดำ (phai si suk dam).
  • Distribution: THAILAND, cultivated.
  • Images: Post and photos by สวนไผ่นานาพันธุ์ สวน (suan phai nana phan suan) in facebook, 23 Jan. 2014.
  • Characters: Culms dull blackish.