10 things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Bamboo

  1. There are over 1,400 species of bamboo.
  2. The development of gunpowder in China included the siliceous skin of bamboo in addition to many other ingredients.
  3. There are items made out of bamboo for every letter of the alphabet – activated charcoal to zithers.
  4. No one knows for sure how bamboo became bamboo. There are two primary speculations. One is that the origin is from the ancient Indian name for bamboo, "mambu". The other speculation is that it is Malayan and comes from the sound bamboo makes when it burns. When bamboo is heated the air in the sealed internodes will expand and cause an explosive bam-boom sound.
  5. All continents except Antarctica and Europe have a native bamboo. (Side note: All continents except Antarctica and Europe have diamonds.)
  6. The rhizomes of most Phyllostachys bamboos experience about 20% of their yearly growth from April to July, 50% in August and September; the remaining 30% occurs during October.
  7. Bamboo has been measured growing more than forty-seven inches in one day.
  8. When harvesting culms, the intended use determines the age of the culms to be harvested. Culms less than 30 days are for eating; those six months to one year old are used for weaving. Two-year-old culms are best for splints and three plus years are best for construction and laminated products.
  9. An acre of bamboo can fix approximately 25 metric tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) per year.
  10. Bamboo beer is made from the seeds of flowering bamboo.

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