Bamboo: Types and Uses
Author: Karmuki E
The most important material to replace wood is bamboo. This acts as the best solution to decrease the use of wood. Bamboo is a versatile plant with a wide variety of uses. It's a long-lasting, fast-growing, and adaptable plant that has great potential, and when we talk about the species of bamboo, there are over 1250 species of bamboo and 75 genera of bamboo with different habitats. Each species has its own potential. Notable species such as moso bamboo is the most useful bamboo species among all and used as the important raw materials for clothing and flooring, guadua angustifolia is used for construction, arrow bamboo or pseudosasa japonica used for arrows and in straight and slender canes. Therefore, varieties of species were used as the first choice for building, medicine, clothing, etc., and hence, bamboo is so popular.
From this blog, we will get to know about the importance and use of a wide variety of bamboo present worldwide and which will be interesting beyond your imagination.
Now let’s see the important species of bamboo and their uses:
- Bambusa Balcooa
We can see the growth of bambusa balcooa in 600 meters, which has a 30-metre culm and prefers textured soil. Bambusa balcooa is native to Bangladesh, India and was introduced in Australia and Indonesia.
This is mainly used for agricultural equipment, construction, round-pole furniture, and pulp.
- Bambusa Nutans:
This generally grows on hill slopes with loamy soil, which is also known as malla, mallo, bandiabansa, and mukia. It's widespread in the north-eastern states of Bengal and Orissa in the Indian subcontinent, where the culm of bambusa nutans seems to be silky and smooth. The bambusa nutans is a tree that is extensively used in home construction and crafts, such as basketry.
It is a medium-sized bamboo that can grow up to 12 metres in height. It is a bamboo which is native to China, where it is planted and utilised as a medium-quality structural bamboo and occasionally used for furniture making.
Bambusatulda, which is also known as Bengal bamboo and Indian timber bamboo, is found at an altitude of 1500 m. It is distributed in India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Thailand. The paper pulp industry in India makes substantial use of tulda.
This has multiple uses where culms are used for handicrafts, furniture, mats, and construction.
- Bambusa vulgaris
Basini bans and bakal are other names for the bambusa vulgaris, also known as the only pan-tropical bamboo. Here, culms are not straight, have green stripes or a lemon-yellow texture, and reach a height of 20m.
It is very helpful for pulping, where people grow it for pulp on huge farms in Brazil, where it is harvested mechanically on a three-year cycle. Bamboo extracts can also be used to treat inflammatory conditions. It is commonly used for furniture, building decorative items and handicrafts.
Due to its thorny form and strong culm internodes that prevent simple splitting, it has limited usefulness for high-value items. This grows at an altitude of 2100 m and can grow up to 40 m. This is native to Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, and Thailand.
The leaves have a variety of medicinal uses, especially for heart function. Culms are widely used for pulp, and they are mainly used for construction and making handicrafts.
- Bambusa textilis:
A thin-walled bamboo, culms up to 15 m tall, is distributed in China.
Culms of Bambusa textilis split quickly and finely, yielding high-quality bamboo for weaving. Landscapers frequently utilise Bambusa textilis and several of its variants. The shoots are edible, but they are tiny.
Bambusablumeana, which is also known as thorny bamboo or spiny bamboo, is native to Malaysia and Indonesia. When wood is limited, Bambusablumeana is used as a fuel, a raw material for paper pulp, and its edible shoots are eaten as a vegetable. Construction, furniture, basketry, concrete reinforcements, headgear, cooking items, handicrafts, chopsticks, and toys are all made from culms.
- Bambusa polymorpha
Bambusa polymorpha, commonly referred to as Burmese bamboo, has culms around 15–25 m tall, which are native to China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, China and Loas. Bambusa polymorpha is a multipurpose bamboo. Culms are used in the building of houses, baskets, woven matting, furniture, handicrafts, and as a raw material in the production of paper pulp and board.
Cephalostachyumpergracile is a medium sized bamboo with culms up to 30 m in height, distributed around Myanmar, India, China, Yunnan, Thailand and cultivated in botanic gardens.
The outer layer may be delicately separated and utilised in handicrafts. With glaucous culms and brownish sheaths, this plant is attractive and appealing.
- Chusquea spp.
Species of Chusquea are native to Latin America, and many of them are rare in that they have solid culms, which open up a wide range of applications.
- Dendrocalamus asper
This has a larger culm up to 20-30m in height and is distributed among countries like India, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Dendrocalamus asper grows best between 400 and 500 metres above sea level in places with an average annual rainfall of 2,400 mm.
A multipurpose bamboo which is used for rural construction, and heavy construction, such as bridges and houses. Dndrocalamus asper is used for making chopsticks, musical instruments, handicrafts, utensils, and furniture.
- Dendrocalamus giganteus:
Dendrocalamus giganteus is one of the tallest bamboos in the world, therefore it is known as the "dragon" or "giant bamboo". It has culms up to 20–30 m tall and is distributed around northern Thailand and southern Myanmar.
It is very useful for pulp production and is used in vegetable products. Culms of Dendrocalamus giganteus are used for making furniture, hats, rural housing, and buckets.
It may reach a height of 20 metres and have culms up to 15 centimetres in diameter. It is widely used for building and basic woven products in Northeast India, Nepal, and Myanmar.
This is known as Taiwan giant bamboo, and is native to Taiwan and southern China. Dendrocalamuslatiflorus has woody culms of 15–25 m.
used for temporary house construction, furniture, chopsticks, bamboo boards, agricultural equipment, fishing rafts and making papers.
Dendrocalamusmembranaceous rises to a height of 25 metres and has thin internodes of up to ten centimetres. It naturally occurs in north-eastern India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and China, where it is used for building, furniture, handicrafts, pulp, and edible shoots.
Dendrocalamusstrictus is known as solid bamboo, male bamboo or Calcutta bamboo. This has a medium sized bamboo of 8 to 10 m tall, distributed among Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Thailand.
This is used for producing pulp and making furniture, instruments, mats, rafts, baskets, and utensils.
In northeast India, China, Thailand, and Myanmar, Gigantochloaalbociliata grows to a height of 10 metres and is utilised for edible shoots, building, and furniture.
- Gigantochloa apus
Gigantochloa apus is also known as string bamboo or tali bamboo. This is distributed among countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia.
This is the most important bamboo species used in the furniture and handicrafts industries. Extensively used as material to construct bridges, fences, walls, roofing, and to make musical instruments.
- Guadua angustifolia
Guadua angustifolia, considered to be the strongest bamboo in the world and often termed "vegetal steel," is most known for its exceptional strength. The culms are 15–25 m tall, and they extend from Mexico to Argentina.
This is the most widely used bamboo as a raw material for making crafts and furniture in many countries and has huge potential for manufacturing musical instruments, utensils, floor boards and laminated furniture and high-quality outputs that can be traded internationally.
This may reach a maximum of 12 metres and have internodes as long as 40 cm. Thailand, Indochina, Sarawak, and areas of Indonesia are home to this species.
It is a large bamboo with culms up to 30 m high that have edible shoots of good quality and will be helpful for making craft paper, furniture and other uses.
Here, culms grow up to 20 m and are distributed throughout north eastern India and some parts of Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is used in pulp, paper, roofing, matting, and helps in making liquor.
- Ochlandra spp.
Ochlandra are around ten species, with culms of about five to ten metres tall and native to south-western Sri Lanka and the western ghats of India.
It is often used for pulp and manufacturing purposes, such as handicrafts and walling.
Oxytenantheraabyssinica, often known as the "lowland bamboo of Africa," grows in drier areas of Africa, where its thick-walled, frequently solid culms are used for construction, domestic items and weaving.
- Phyllostachys edulis
Phyllostachys edulis, which is commonly referred to as Moso bamboo, with an 18 m tall culm, is native to Taiwan and China. This plant is regarded as the most economically important plant for China.
Moso bamboo is grown in big plantations and harvested for a range of items such as fencing, furniture, building materials, musical instruments, paper pulp, plywood, flooring, and rayon for the textile industry, among others.
Schizothyme dullooa is also known as dullooa and wadroo, with a culm of 6–9 m tall and which is found at an altitude of 1200 m. It is used in the production of baskets, mats, and for various purposes.
This medium sized bamboo, also referred as umbrella bamboo, Thai bamboo, or monastery bamboo, has a 7–13 m tall culm and is native to Myanmar, Laos, China, and Vietnam. It is an excellent and strong construction grade bamboo with edible shoots and solid or near solid culms.
The culms are used in the construction of houses, furniture, and other household items, as well as a raw material for cottage industries. Buddhist monks use it as an ornamental plant around temples because of its exquisite look.
Concluding, these are all the bamboo species, which grow quickly and adapt well. Bamboo now plays a key part in human society's well-being due to its enormous contribution to the development of livelihoods for millions of people.
From the above species and their uses, we recognise that these species act as the best raw material resources for construction, pulp, paper, food, fabric, and engineering materials, which act as an important asset for human beings. Currently, a wide range of bamboo items are available on the market, and many more new products are still being developed.