Dendrocalamus copelandii

Dendrocalamus copelandii (Gamble) N. H. Xia & Stapleton

Lower section of
young culm of
Dendro­calamus cope­landii
at the Bamboo Center, 
Roy. Proj. Foundation,
Mae Hia, Chiang Mai

  • Synonyms: Bambusa cope­landii Gamble; Dendro­calamopsis cope­landii (Gamble) Keng f.; Sino­calamus cope­landii (Gamble) Raizada.
  • Thai names: ไผ่มันหมู (phai man mu); Ref.: — ไผ่หกน้ำ (phai hok nam), ไผ่เป๊าะ (phai po). Phai man mu (man = fat; mu = pig, pork) alludes to the copious amount of wax of the inter­nodes. The name phai po is applied to other species, too.
  • English name: Pig Fat Bamboo.
  • Distribution: THAILAND: western and northern part: Kanchanaburi, Mae Hong Son, and Tak provinces, in mixed deciduous forest and dry evergreen forest; MYANMAR: northern part (native); INDIA (cultivated).
  • Culm size: Height 15–30 m, diameter 8–25 cm. This size is recorded from plants in Kanchanaburi populations, and the diameter of 25 cm was verified. Plants in Mae Hong Son populations are known only of considerably smaller maximum size both in height and diameter.
  • Descriptions:
    (1) "A large, elegant, tufted bamboo. Culms up to 20 m tall, 16-19 cm in diameter at the base, walls fairly thick at the base; nodes hardly prominent; internodes upto 45 cm long on robust culms, when young covered with appressed silvery hairs. Culm-sheaths 38 cm long and 30 cm broad at the base, thick, covered with scanty golden-yellow hairs outside, polished inside, top rounded towards the short and narrow blade. Blade and edge of sheath in young shoots very sharp, copper coloured; auricles absent or minute. Leaves 33-38 cm long and 4.5-8 cm broad, ovate-lanceolate, rounded at the base, almost smooth and glabrous above, softly hairy and scabrous beneath, secondary nerves quite prominent, transverse veinlets visible on the lower surface. ..." — Bamboos of India, 1998, p. 50, as "Bambusa copelandi".
    (2) "... Rhizomes short; pachymorph. Culms erect; 1500–2000 cm long; 16–19 mm diam.; woody; without nodal roots. Culm-internodes terete; with small lumen; 25–45 cm long; distally pubescent. Culm-nodes flush with internodes. Lateral branches dendroid. Culm-sheaths 38 cm long; 0.9 times as long as wide; pubescent; with yellow hairs; convex at apex. Culm-sheath blade lanceolate. Leaves cauline. Ligule an eciliate membrane. Collar with external ligule. Leaf-blade base with a brief petiole-like connection to sheath. Leaf-blades lanceolate, or ovate; 33–38 cm long; 45–80 mm wide. Leaf-blade venation with distinct cross veins. Leaf-blade surface scabrous; rough abaxially; pubescent; hairy abaxially ... Spikelets comprising 4–7 fertile florets; with diminished florets at the apex. Spikelets lanceolate; laterally compressed; 25–38 mm long; 5–7 mm wide; breaking up at maturity; disarticulating below each fertile floret. Rhachilla internodes definite ..." — Kew GrassBase, as "Bambusa copelandii"
    (3) Dendrocalamus copelandii (Gamble ex Brandis) N. H. Xia & Stapleton, in Kew Bull. 52(2), 1997: p. 484 [#1193].
    (4) S. Sungkaew & al., in Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany), 35, 2007: 94-97.
  • Images: Line drawing in S. Sungkaew & al., in Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany), 35, 2007: 96. Photos in Kasetsart Univ., Forestry (shoot), and in BamboosThailand2; photos by Niramit Sareerudt in facebook, 6 Dec. 2013 (culms and shoots).
  • Characters: Distinguishing vegetative characters of three giant species of genus Dendrocalamus.
  • Uses: Culms for construction; shoots said to be delicious but of slightly bitter taste.
  • Cultivation requirements: Easy growing in loamy, rather moist soil with good drainage, exposed to half shade or full sun (seems to prefer partial shade but can withstand full sun); not drought-tolerant.
  • Comments: (1) Flowers and seeds known. (2) Flowering and seeding of ไผ่มันหมู (phai man mu) in Thailand in 2010 was recorded (facebook, 22 Mar. 2014). (3) The species is placed in genus Bambusa by The Plant List and Kew GrassBase. Judging from vegetative characters, the species resembles Dendrocalamus and is very similar to D. sinicus, from which it is difficult to distinguish in a juvenile stage.
  • Specimens: BS-0018 [BBG] (living plant), Nan, ธ. ล., July 2011; BS-0418-2 [-] (living plant), Kanchanaburi, ธ. ล., Dec. 2010; BS-0447 [R04] (living plant), Chiang Mai, cult., May 2010; BS-0587 [BBG] (living plant), Mae Hong Son, seedling, wild, Dec. 2010; MH-008, MH-008-1, MH-008-2, MH-051 (living plants), Mae Hia, cult.
  • Specimens: BS-0185 [E6] (living plant), Chiang Mai, Suan Noi Nursery at Kham Thiang Market, cult., 12 Oct. 2008, said to originate from Phrae; BS-0199 [W4] (living plants), Suan Noi Nursery, Saraphi, said to orignate from cultivated plants at Phrae, received 9 Dec. 2008, as "ไผ่หวานช่อแฮ (phai wan cho hae)" or "ไผ่ช่อแฮ (phai cho hae)", the Thai name refers to the monastery วัดพระธาตุช่อแฮ (Wat Phrathat Cho Hae) nearby Phrae.
  • Characters: Habit caespitose, tight clump. Rhizome pachymorph, short. Culms erect, straight, unbranched on lower part. Young shoots light green to reddish with dark brown to blackish hairs, upper culm leaf sheath margin, ligule and blade purplish black, blades patent to reflexed, shooting from early April. Culm-internodes 18–28 cm long, dull green, light brownish when old, glabrous, smooth, thinly to thickly covered with white waxy powder when young (causing a whitish to bluish appearance), walls relatively thin (6th internode 87 cm above ground with wall 9 mm thick by 4.9 cm culm diameter). Culm-nodes not prominent, flush with internodes, glabrous, usually without aerial roots. Branches few, subequal, central slightly dominant. Culm-leaves late deciduous, or persistent, lower ones may decay while attached to the internode (tardily removable from the internode, but upper ones easily removable). Culm-leaf sheath usually a littler shorter than internode of lower and mid-culms, thinly papery, light green, yellowish-green, purplish or copper-colored when young, yellowish-brown when dry, with scarce mid-brown, dark brown or blackish hairs, margins entire and eciliate on upper section, ciliolate on lower section when young, apex rounded with horizontal or slightly concave 4–6 cm broad middle part, purplish along upper margin when young. Culm-leaf auricles a very low, entire purplish rim, or absent, without bristles. Culm-leaf ligule 1–4 mm long, dark purplish, subentire or finely fringed. Culm-leaf blade lanceolate, dark purplish, densely dark hairy above near attachment with sheath, horizontally patent to reflexed, caducous. Foliage-leaves usually 9–12 per branchlet, sometimes up to 16. Foliage-leaf sheath glabrous, somewhat keeled, yellowish-brown, reddish towards apex. Foliage-leaf auricles none. Foliage-leaf ligule 1–1.5 mm long, dark reddish-brown, subentire. Foliage-leaf blade 22–42 × 6–9.5 cm, glabrous on both surfaces, mid-green to dark green, glossy above; base rounded; margins antrorsely scabrous when young, less so or smooth when old; apex attenuate; midrib proximally prominent beneath; petiole 2–8 mm long and 2–7 mm broad.
  • Comments: (1) BS-0185, ไผ่หวานช่อแฮ (phai wan cho hae), is said to grow less tall to about 10 m by 7 cm in diameter, and mainly planted for its palatable shoots. (2) The nodal septum of BS-0418-2 is sealed (has no opening).

Dendrocalamus copelandii, ไผ่หวานช่อแฮ (phai wan cho hae):
Young culm, showing farinose internode, culm-leaf with rim-like, purplish auricles and sparsely hairy sheath (BS-0185, left and center),
old culm with decaying culm-leaves (BS-0185, right)

      cl. BS-0634-1, bluish-green shoot
  • Specimens: BS-0634-1 [BBG] (living plants), Central Thailand, cult.
  • Characters: Culm sheath ligule higher; young shoots with bluish-green margin of upper culm sheath, dark bluish-green to blackish-green culm sheath blades; otherwise as in clones of BS-0185 etc.

      cl. BS-0634, pea-green shoot
  • Specimens: BS-0634 [BBG] (living plants), Central Thailand, cult.
  • Characters: Culm sheath ligule higher; young shoots pea-green throughout, culm sheaths with scarce mid-brown hairs; otherwise as in clones of BS-0185 etc.

      cl. BS-0339, BS-0341-1, reddish shoot, hairy
  • Specimens: BS-0339, [†] (living plant), ไผ่โปร่ง (phai prong), Kanchanaburi, western Thailand, cult., started gregarious flowering in Nov. 2014; BS-0339A [-] (seeds), collected from BS-0339, 1 Mar. – 1 Apr. 2015; BS-0341-1 [†] (living plant), Kanchanaburi, western Thailand, cult., started gregarious flowering in Oct. 2014; BS-0341-1A [-] (seeds), collected from BS-0341-1, 1 Apr. 2015.
  • Characters: Young shoots reddish, hairy. Spikelets 1.8–2.0 cm long, laterally compressed, green, changing to purple; anthers pale yellow.
  • Flowering and seeding: Compilation of Bamboo Seeds: BS-0339A, BS-0341-1A.
  • Comments: When flowering started, the plants were still immature, and vegetative characters could not be described precisely. Plants died after flowering and fruiting.

      cl. Kanchanaburi, BS-0418-1, BS-0418-1A
  • Thai name: Plant received as ไผ่โปร่ง (phai prong). The name phai prong (prong = open, airy) refers to the nodal septum, which is not sealed but has an opening of irregular shape.
  • Distribution: THAILAND: western part: Kanchanaburi.
  • Culm size: Height ca. 15 m, diameter ca. 15 cm.
  • Specimens: BS-0418-1 [†] (living plant), Kanchanaburi, wild, ธ. ล. 21 Jan. 2010, flowered, seeded and died; BS-0418-1A [E4] (living plant), raised from seeds of BS-0418-1, cult.
  • Characters: Young shoots emerge from May. Culm sheaths papery, late deciduous on mid and upper culm, persistent and decaying on basal culm. Spikelets 2.0 (2.3) cm long, laterally compressed, green, changing to purple; anthers pale yellow.
  • Uses: Culms are used as water pipes and for construction; culms are said to be very hard and strong, and very pest-resistant.
  • Flowering and seeding: Compilation of Bamboo Seeds: BS-0418-1A.
  • Comments: (1) The plant BS-0418-1 started flowering gregariously in Nov. 2013 and died in July 2014. (2) During flowering, the flowers were intensively visited by bees. Photos of this occasion were taken, and published in the album of BS-0418-1, and in facebook, 9 Dec. 2013. The bee on the photos was identified as Apis cerana Fabricius (1793). Identification was carried out by entomologist Dr. Ricardo Ayala-Barajas. Thanks to him, and to Dr. Eduardo Ruiz-Sánchez who helped making identification possible. (3) The plant is very similar to Dendrocalamus copelandii. However, D. copelandii was described as having larger spikelets, 2.5–3.8 cm long. In vegetative characters, BS-0418-1 looks similar to Dendrocalamus copelandii and D. sinicus. (4) Seeds were collected from mid March until mid June 2014, and seedlings raised. (5) Culm sheaths are very similar in shape and texture to BS-0185 etc., ไผ่มันหมู phai man mu, and to D. sinicus from Yunnan (BS-0617, 巨龙竹 jù lóng zhú), but BS-0418-1 has less hairs, which are mainly located on the lower part of sheath. Similar as D. sinicus, BS-0418-1 has little white powder or wax on the surface of the internodes, whereas phai man mu is thickly covered with white wax.

ไผ่โปร่ง (phai prong) from Kanchanaburi (BS-0418-1): Young shoot without hairs (left), spikelets (right)

      cl. Kanchanaburi, BS-0410
  • Distribution: THAILAND, western part: Kanchanaburi.
  • Culm size: Not recorded.
  • Specimens: BS-0410 [R09] (living plant), Kanchanaburi, wild, received from ธ. ล. as "ไผ่มัน" (phai man), 10 Jan. 2010.
  • Characters: Culm internodes glabrous, with white deposit, thick-walled. Culm nodes with aerial roots on basal culm. Culm leaves deciduous; culm leaf sheath covered with brown hairs; culm leaf auricles lacking, or with an inconspicuous low rim; culm leaf ligule very long, fringed. Foliage leaves about 9 per branchlet; foliage leaf sheaths orange when young, glabrous; foliage leaf auricles none; foliage leaf ligule entire; foliage leaf blades large.
  • Uses: Not recorded. It is said that the shoots are not of good taste.
  • Provisional identification: Not yet attempted as plant is immature, supposed to represent Dendrocalamus copelandii. The plant flowered sporadically from Dec. 2013 for a few months, thereupon became weak and has not recovered since (Oct. 2015). No seeds were produced.

      pop. ไผ่สาละวิน (phai salawin)
  • Thai names: ไผ่สาละวิน (phai salawin), ไผ่เป๊าะยักษ์สาละวิน (phai po yak salawin).
  • English name: Not recorded.
  • Distribution: THAILAND, northern part: Mae Hong Son, in the area of Salween River (แม่น้ำสาละวิน), abundant in Mae Sariang (แม่สะเรียง), wild. MYANMAR.
  • Culm size: Height 25 m, diameter 12–23 cm.
  • Images: Post and photo of ไผ่สาละวิน (phai salawin) by Yong Bam Boo in facebook, 21 Feb. 2014. Post and photos of ไผ่เป๊าะยักษ์สาละวิน (phai po yak salawin) by สวนไผ่บงหวาน เพชรน้ำผึ้ง (suan phai bong wan, phet nam phueng) in facebook, 23 Mar. 2014, and in facebook, 25 March 2014.
  • Specimens: None collected.
  • Provisional identification: Assumed to be conspecific with Dendrocalamus copelandii.
  • Comments: (1) Flowers and seeds known. (2) It is abundant in both the Thai [Mae Hong Son Province] and Myanmar area of the Salween [River] Basin forests. There are many thousands of clumps in the wild, which flowered almost all and died in 2010, and [seedlings] gradually grow up until now. This bamboo is popular for its shoot used fresh as food, and used for making processed bamboo shoots; of slightly bitter, astringent taste. Young shoots not hairy. The bamboo stems were used up a lot. Culm diameter 5–9 in, height 25 m, culm walls 2–4 cm thick (translated from facebook).

      Dendrocalamus copelandii 'Prakai Thong' (ประกายทอง)

Dendrocalamus copelandii 'Prakai Thong'
from fb, 8 Nov. 2017

  • Images: Photos in fb, 8 Nov. 2017.
  • Characters: Culm-internodes with a few narrow stripes in pale yellow; foliage leaves with numerous narrow stripes in yellowish green.
  • Comments: A cultivated variety raised from seeds by ธ. บ., Hang Dong, Chiang Mai, in 2014.