Bamboo Glossary

This Bamboo Glossary Is Brought to you by: Winter Park Bamboo & Palm Trees

Aerial Root: a bamboo root growing above ground

Amphipodial:  a term for rhizome systems that are both mobopodial and sympodial.

Arundinaria:  bamboo genus distinguished by erect, smooth culms that are round in cross-section. They do not have the groove or “sulcis” of the Phyllostachys genus. Culm sheaths are persistent.

Aurea:  Golden or yellowish in color

Auricle:  an ear-shaped appendage that occurs at the upper part of the sheath. Size and prominence varies greatly among species.

Axis:  refers to the bamboo plant as a whole, from which different components are distinguished. (i.e. culms, rhizomes).

Bamboo:  a sub family of Poaceae (grasses), called Bambusoideae.

Blade:  the part of a leaf serves a photosynthetic purpose. Appearance varies among species, but usually green and flat.

Bloom:  white deposit on new culms of bamboo.

Bud:  an undeveloped or dormant shoot that can be located on stems, branches, culms, and rhizomes. Buds located on a rhizome can form shoots or new rhizomes. Buds located on a culm can produce new branches, leaves or flowers.

Caepitose:  growing in dense clumps. The rhizomes are not running and have a tendency not to spread.

Calamus:  reed

Chimonobambusa:  bamboo genus named for the fact it shoots in late fall or winter (Greek -cheimon -winter)

Cilium (pl. Cilia): one of the marginal hairs bordering the auricle. Syn.: Aural setae

Clone:  group of cultivated plants reproduced from one original plant by vegetative means

Clumping:  see sympodial or pachymorph.

Culm:  the main stem of a grass plant that grows above ground. The culms of bamboo are large and woody, as compared to other grasses. Often referred to as “canes”.

Culm Leaf (or Culm Sheath):  a leaf that overlaps and covers newly emerging shoots and culms. They protect a young bamboo plant in the early stages of growth.

Edulis:  edible

Flexuosus:  zigzag or bending

Foliage Leaf:  the leaf that emerges from the nodes at the branches of the plant. The blade is the most prominent feature and is responsible from the majority of the plant’s photosynthesis.

Glabrous:  smooth, without hairs

Glaucous:  dull, bluish-green

Gramineus:  grass like

Guttation:  water expelled over night as droplets from the tips of bamboo leaves.

Gregarious flowering:  or mass flowering, occurs when bamboo of the same genotype flower simultaneously in multiple locations.

Internode:  the segment of the culm between the two nodes.

Leaf Sheath:  the sheath on a branch that protects the true leaf that is attached by a petiole

Leptomorph:  the rhizome system of running bamboos. The rhizomes are generally thin and hollow and can spread over vast distances. Often referred to as “invasive”.

Ligule:  protective lip or rim at the tip of a culm sheath where the sheath blade attaches

Monopodial:  a rhizome or branching system that contains a single dominant stem from which secondary branches or rhizomes emerge. Found in running bamboos.

Node:  the point on any component on the axis where flowers, branches, and shoots emerge.

Oral setae:  these are the hairs on auricles of culm sheaths

Pachymorph:  the rhizome rhizome system of clumping bamboos. The rhizomes are generally short and thick, and curve upwards to produce new culms.

Persistent:  used to describe culm sheaths that remain in place after a culm has matured

Phyllostachys:  a bamboo genus with distinct grooves (sulcis) on the culms

P.I.:  plant introduction number assigned by USDA

Pubescens:  referring to as hairy

Pygmaeus:  dwarf, very small

Rhizome:  an underground stem that is responsible for the storage of food and colonization of new territory. It is similar in structure to the culm, containing roots, leaves, nodes, and internodes.

Rhizome sheath:  husk-like protective organ attached basally to each rhizome node.

Root:  A portion of the plant found underground or at the base of a culm. Its primary function is to anchor culms and collect water and nutrients.

Running Bamboo:  the rhizome system of running bamboos. The rhizomes are generally thin and hollow and can spread over vast distances. Often referred to as “invasive”.  A  rhizome or branching system that contains a single dominant stem from which secondary branches or rhizomes emerge. Found in running bamboos.

Sheath:  the part of a leaf that encases the newly emerging culms. The sheath is most prominent on the culm leaves of new shoots, and less prominent on foliage leaves.

Sheath Scar:  ring round the lower part of nodes where the sheath was originally attached and can be quite distinctive in some species.

Shoot:  newly emerging culm. Often used for their culinary value.

Sulcus:  inward groove that runs vertically along the internodes.

Sympodial:  the rhizome or branching system of clumping bamboos. New culms emerge from the tip of each rhizome as they curve upwards

Tesselation:  checkered pattern. Caused by crossing of veins in the leaves, creating a checkered appearance.

Thorn:  sharp, stiff, woody spine that typically originates on a branch or stem.

Turion:  the tender young shoot as it emerges from the ground without branches or leaves.

Viridi-glaucescens:  of bluish-green color

Viridis:  green

Woody:  plants consisting of hard, woody fibers.

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