Amaze everyone with your weird and wonderful facts about bamboo!
10 facts about bamboo
- You’ll already know that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on land but did you know that sea kelp grows even faster than bamboo?
- There are 1400 documented species of bamboo in the world and when one species flowers, all the other plants of that species flower at the same time, no matter where they are in the world.
- Bamboo is a grass, not a tree. Just imagine the size of the lawnmower needed!
- Bamboo grows so fast because the cells are all there to start with and they expand and elongate when they fill with water. Imagine a slinky toy starting small and coiled up and then being pulled out to its full height. Most grasses grow like this, that’s why your lawn needs mowing so much!
- In some places in the world, bamboo is used in place of steel for scaffolding. Not surprising as the tensile strength of bamboo is greater than steel by nearly 20%
- The strongest bamboo scaffold pieces are usually 3 to 5 years old, air dried indoors for 3 months and around 20 feet long.
- Bamboo scaffolding structures can reach up to 600ft in height around some structures in Hong Kong.
- Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb, used carbonized bamboo as the filament in his first lightbulb.
- The long ‘tubes’ of the bamboo plant are called culms, and the knobbly bits which separate them are called nodes. Some species have really knobbly nodes and some are smooth.
10 More facts about bamboo
- Bamboo isn’t always green. Some species of bamboo have blue, or bluey black plum colored stems, sometimes looking as if dusted with a white powder.
- Bamboo is better for the environment than cotton. It has a much smaller carbon footprint compared to an acre of planting and doesn’t need to rely on the provision of extra water, pesticides or fertilizer to produce a successful crop.
- Bamboo clothing is more expensive than other fabrics because we don’t buy enough of it! When manufacturers can scale up production of anything this lowers the costs. Imagine buying one big machine to make 100 garments, that machine costs the same to produce 10,000 garments.
- Stop buying canes at garden centres, you can grow your own! Almost all bamboo species can be used to cut canes. Once the canes are 2 to 3 years old and the right size for you cut them in late summer and let them dry over winter ready for the vegetable growing season next spring.
- Because bamboo is a grass it won’t die off in winter and will remain leafy and green.
- Bamboo sawdust can be safely converted to biofuel. Made into ethanol first, the ground up bamboo is processed into a simple sugar and then fermented. The ethanol is then processed into biofuel.
- According to the food and agriculture organisation, there are around 35 million hectares of bamboo in the world.
- In traditional Chinese medicine, bamboo shoots are used to relieve labor pains in childbirth.
- Computer modelling has predicted that bamboo will cease to exist by the next century (2100) if we fail to slow down climate change.
- Pandas aren’t the only animal to enjoy eating bamboo. Cattle are particularly fond of the plant, chickens enjoy the leaves and horses enjoy the high fibre, high protein snack too.
And 10 More facts about bamboo
- Bamboo beer is real. In 2012, Bambusa was founded in Mexico making a brown ale beer.
22. Bamboo is an excellent source of food for both animals and humans. In fact, some cultures rely on bamboo shoots as a dietary staple.
23. Bamboo has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
24. The hollow stems of bamboo can be used as musical instruments, such as flutes and xylophones.
25. Bamboo is a natural water purifier and can be used to filter and clean water in developing countries.
27. Bamboo forests provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, including pandas, lemurs, and various species of birds and insects.
29. The flexibility and strength of bamboo make it an excellent material for use in martial arts weapons, such as staffs and swords.