Bamboo is a member of the grass family, Poaceae, one of the largest plant families in the world which also includes agricultural grains such as wheat and rice, as well as sugar cane. There are over 1200 known species of bamboo distributed among more than 90 genera in the subfamily bambusoideae and the tribe Bambuseae. Bamboo is known to be native to every continent except Antarctica and Europe, occuring primarily in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions.
The global distribution of bamboo is governed largely by rainfall, temperature, altitude and soil. Whereas bamboo prefers regions of high rainfall, there are species of bamboo which can grow in dry decidous forests with low rainfall.
Bamboo is indeed very versatile and diverse varieties of bamboo thrive in different habitats in a variety of soil types preferably well-drained sandy loam to loamy soils with adequate nutrients and moisture. Bamboos prefer acidic to near neutral PH soils and may not do well on extremely acidic, saline and alkaline soils.
Bamboos occur in many shapes and sizes based on the genera, some bamboo species are woody with vertical, towering culms while many others are non - woody (herbaceous) and grasslike.
Bamboos are wind and insect pollinated, flowering annually, sporadically or rarely. many non-woody bamboos flower annually but the woody bamboos exhibit unusual flowering cycles taking many decades in some cases more than 100 years before flowering. These bamboos which so infrequently flower do so in gregarious monocarpy: the entire bamboo stand will begin to flower, will stop making leaves or new shoots, and put all its energy into producing seed and then it will die. This type of bamboo makes only one crop of seed in its life time and then dies off. Any cuttings from that crop will not germinate and successful regeneration will only be possible from the seeds so produced
The bamboo species discussed on this website are a representative of several genera (mainly Dendrocalamus and Bambusa) comprising woody bamboo species that can grow in Uganda.
Typical features of the woody bamboos that grow in Uganda include:
- Have sympodial (clumping) rhizome system which are most suited to tropical climate. the monopodial (running) bamboos are more suited to temperate climate. Sympodial bamboo culms grow closely together in clumps
- Have hollow culms divided into nodes and internodes
- Have potential to elongate by activity of the intercalary meristem, which allows bamboo to grow more rapidily
Keep exploring this website for information on some of the bamboo species we have in Uganda