Dendrocalamus sinicus

Dendrocalamus sinicus L. C. Chia & J. L. Sun

    Dendrocalamus sinicus:
    Culm leaves (culm sheath apex with sheath blade)
    and internodes of basal culm.
     Location: Menghai township,
    Xishuangbanna county, Yunnan, China, Aug. 2003 —
    by courtesy of 蒋丽华

  • Synonyms: Sinocalamus sinicus (L. C. Chia & J. L. Sun) W. T. Lin; Dendrocalamus sinicus f. aequotus K. L. Wang (place of publication unknown).
  • Thai names: ไผ่จีน (phai chin), ไผ่เป๊าะ (phai po). Lao names: Bo', puak. Chinese names: 巨龙竹 (jù lóng zhú), can be translated as "giant dragon bamboo".
  • Distribution: THAILAND (North): Mae Hong Son prov.: Pang Ung, wild or planted (local name: phai po); Chiang Mai prov., Samoeng, possibly planted long time ago; Kew Herbarium. LAOS (L. Inthakoun and C. O. Delang, Lao Flora, 2008; #1140). CHINA (south-western and southern Yunnan), wild and planted, 600–1,000 m altitude.
  • Culm size: Height 20–30 m (140 ft = 42.7 m), dia­meter 20–30 (32) cm. Other record: Culm length 46 m, diameter 36 cm (Xinhua News Agency Aug. 29, 2003). "The Xinhua News Agency carried this interesting article about the largest bamboo in the world ... in August 29, 2003. The bamboo, identified as Dendrocalamus sinicus, was found in a plantation in the Menghai County of Xishuangbanna, Southwestern China. The specimen shown in the photo has a diameter of 25 cm (10 in) but according to the report some culms in the plantation reach a diameter of 36 cm (14 + inches = waistline of 35 inches) and are up to 46 m tall. {Source: Bamboo Phil, January – March 2009}" [Ua Yarwng vol. 1, 2010].
  • Descriptions:
    (1) "18. Dendrocalamus sinicus L. C. Chia & J. L. Sun, Bamboo Res. 1(1): 10. 1982. 歪脚龙竹 wai jiao long zhu. Culms 20-30 m, 20-30 cm in diam.; internodes 17-22 cm [basal internodes congested]. Culm sheaths deciduous or persistent, initially yellow-green, thickly leathery; auricles absent; ligule ca. 6 mm; blade erect. Leaf sheaths initially slightly hairy, becoming glabrous; ligule 1.5-2 mm; blade 20-40 × 4-6.5 cm. ... Spikelets 30-35 × 6.5-7.5 mm. ... 600-1000 m. Yunnan." — Flora of China.
    (2) "... Rhizomes short; pachymorph. Culms erect; nodding at the tip; 2000–3000 cm long; 200–300 mm diam.; woody; with aerial roots from the nodes. Culm-internodes terete; with small lumen; 17–22 cm long; distally mealy. Lateral branches dendroid; arising from upper culm. Branch complement many; with subequal branches. Culm-sheaths persistent; coriaceous; hispid; hairy above; with appressed hairs; with dark brown hairs; without auricles; glabrous on shoulders. Culm-sheath ligule 6 mm high; entire, or dentate. Culm-sheath blade triangular; as wide as sheath at base; erect; pubescent; acuminate. Leaf-sheaths glabrous on surface, or puberulous. Leaf-sheath oral hairs lacking. Leaf-sheath auricles absent. Ligule an eciliate membrane; 1.5–2 mm long; erose. Leaf-blade base with a brief petiole-like connection to sheath. Leaf-blades oblong; 20–40 cm long; 40–65 mm wide. Leaf-blade venation with 20–26 secondary veins; with distinct cross veins. Leaf-blade surface glabrous, or puberulous; hairy on both sides. Leaf-blade apex acuminate ... [flowers and seeds described]." — Kew GrassBase.
  • Images: Line drawing in Flora of China. Photos in fpcn(1), fpcn(2), AsianFlora (culm). (culm), facebook (culm), Yunnan Bamboo Nursery (culms).
  • Characters: Distinguishing vegetative characters of three giant species of genus Dendrocalamus.

  • Dendrocalamus sinicus (BS-0617): Fertile spikelets (left), culm-leaf in a young shoot (center), dried culm-leaf attached to the culm (right)

  • Comments:
    (1) The bamboo from Samoeng district of Chiang Mai province was probably planted long time ago. It was identified as Dendrocalamus sinicus (S. Sungkaew & al., 2008). At the Royal Project Station in Pang Da of Samoeng district, where this bamboo is kept in cultivation, it was said that two "forms" exist, one with reddish culms (ปล้องแดง plong daeng), the other with grayish culms (ปล้องเขา plong khao). I received the "form" with reddish culms (BS-0269 [N2], 12 Sep. 2009), which was planted out at Baan Sammi, and when the plant has developed large culms (in 2015), it became obvious that the plant is Dendrocalamus asper, not D. sinicus. Whether the gray-stem "form" is genuine Dendrocalamus sinicus remains unknown to me, as I neither could see this "form" during my visit in 2009, nor did I receive a plant.
    (2) Dendro­calamus sinicus is known as the world's tallest and biggest bamboo species with self-supporting culms (a few climbing species, hence without self-supporting culms, can reach a much longer culm length).
    (3) The height from plants grown in Chiang Mai province is not recorded; the plants from Mae Hong Son are only up to 15 m tall.
    (4) The description of 平节龙竹 (píng jié lóng zhú), Dendrocalamus sinicus f. aequotus K. L. Wang, is available in Chinese only and reads: 本变型与原变型之区别在于秆基部节间正常,并不歪斜。 Unfortunately, Google Translate is not able to provide an understandable translation of this phrase, hence the plant characters of this variety remain unrevealed. The Chinese name of this variety contains 平节 (píng jié), which might be translated as "flat joint" or "flat node", and if so the meaning remains unclear, too. Perhaps it could mean "flat internode": culm-internodes of reduced length, aka congested internodes, which would make sense. Hopefully a Chinese native speaker would solve the problem in the near future.
  • Specimens: BS-0692 [-] (seeds), received as "ไผ่โปก (phai pok)" from plants, collected by ธ. ล. in northern Thailand, without precise locality, in Jan. 2012.
  • Flowering and seeding: Compilation of Bamboo Seeds: BS-0692.
  • Comments: It is a species of Dendrocalamus, but species identification has not yet been confirmed.
  • Specimens: BS-0694 [BBG,SSG], BS-0694-1 [-] (living plants), raised from seeds received as "ไผ่โปกเล่าจาง (phai pok lao chang)" from cultivated plants, collected by ธ. ล. in แม่สรวย (Mae Suai District), Chiang Rai Province, northern Thailand, in Feb. and Apr. 2012.
  • Flowering and seeding: Compilation of Bamboo Seeds: BS-0694, BS-0694-1.
  • Comments: It is a species of Dendrocalamus, but species identification has not yet been confirmed.


    Flowering of Dendrocalamus sinicus:
    Location: Menghai township, Xishuangbanna county,
    Yunnan, China, Aug. 2013 — by courtesy of 蒋丽华

  • Specimens: BS-0617 [E5] (living plants), raised from seeds from Yunnan, China, received as "巨龙竹 (jù lóng zhú) Dendrocalamus sinicus", 1 Mar. 2011. BS-0860 [-] (living plants), raised from seeds from Yunnan, China, received as "巨龙竹 (jù lóng zhú) Dendrocalamus sinicus", 20 Feb. 2016.
  • Characters (BS-0617): Rhizomes pachymorph, short. Culms erect, unbranched basally, nodding apically. Young shoots emerge from April/May to September. Culm internodes 17–21 cm long (on immature plant), reddish when young, mid-green later, sparsely short-hairy, almost glabrous, not farinose. Culm sheaths persistent or late deciduous (lower ones not easily removable, remnants remain attached), thickly papery, longer than internode (in mature clumps), reddish-green and with mid-brown to dark-brown appressed hairs when young, straw-colored when dry, margins whitish short-ciliate when young; sheath apex rounded, slightly concave at attachment of sheath blade; sheath auricles absent; sheath ligule low, black, margin entire or subentire; sheath blade erect to patent, caducous. Foliage leaves about 15–17 per branchlet. Leaf blades large, mid-green, up to 37 × 8 cm (on immature plant) (shape similar to Dendrocalamus copelandii), glabrous on both surfaces, slightly pubescent beneath when young; margins antrorsely scabrous; midrib somewhat prominent; petiole 5–7 mm long, 3–5 mm broad; leaf sheaths glabrous, yellowish-green, reddish towards apex when young; leaf sheath auricles and oral setae absent; leaf sheath ligule conspicuous, subentire, brownish or reddish when young. Spikelets lanceolate, laterally compressed, ca. 35 mm long, 7–9 mm wide.
  • Flowering and seeding: Compilation of Bamboo Seeds: BS-0617 etc.

      Yunnan, curved

    Culms of the curved form of Dendrocalamus sinicus:
    Location: South China Botanical Garden (SCBG),
    Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, Sep. 2013
    — by courtesy of 蒋丽华

  • Chinese name: 歪脚龙竹 (wāi jiǎo lóng zhú), can be translated as "crooked foot dragon bamboo".
  • Distribution: CHINA: Yunnan, native. THAILAND: Introduction from China in July 2012 was not successful as the plants died.
  • Specimens: BS-0085 [†] (living plants), died.
  • Characters: Culms curved, not straight. Otherwise as in cl. Yunnan.

Photos of shoots of young plants, by Niramit Sareerudt in facebook, 5 Dec. 2013:
Post by Niramit Sareerudt.

Photos of culms and shoots of old plants, by Niramit Sareerudt in facebook, 6 Dec. 2013:
Post by Niramit Sareerudt.

Photos of Dendrocalamus sinicus introduced from Yunnan, flowering in Thailand, by Nanbamboo น่านแบมบู, 9 Feb. 2014:
Post by Nanbamboo น่านแบมบู.

Photos of Dendrocalamus sinicus, by Thoop Nakasen in facebook, 16 Sep. 2015:
Post by Thoop Nakasen