Within the PermaTree FoodForest we grow high diversity of fruits.
Below you will find information about the bamboo types which we have been growing at the farm since 2016.
We have gained good experience with bamboo experiments regarding reproducing bamboo and harvesting and bamboo for construction with the bamboo house and tiny bamboo house. Bamboos are TRUE multipurpose crops, with over 1500 documented uses.
Although some bamboos have been the subject of a great deal of research, the majority of species are poorly known and much of their biology is incompletely understood. Resources to study bamboos scientifically have been and remain severely limited. Most international research funding and effort has focused on a relatively small set (38) of ‘priority species’ of bamboo that are commercially important and widely distributed (Williams and Rao 1994; Rao et al. 1998). Of these, most are native to the Asia-Pacific region, one (Oxytenanthera abyssinica) is an African species, none occurs in Madagascar and one (Guadua angustifolia) comes from South America. The greatest diversity of bamboos in the New World is in South America. Brazil has nearly twice as many bamboo species as Venezuela and Colombia, which are in turn nearly twice as rich as the richest Mesoamerican countries (Costa Rica and Mexico).
Guadua angustifolia is native to South America and one of the most economically important bamboo species in the world, especially in terms of biomass generation, and mechanical and structural strength properties. The word “guadua” means “narrow leaf” which was the name given to this bamboo among the native communities of Colombia and Ecuador. One of its strengths is the large mass of roots it produces, so it great erosion control plant. Guadua grows in clumps but these clumps will continue to expand and can become 10 meters in diameter in about 10 years (under optimal conditions).
It can grow up to a altitude of 1800 – 2000 meters over sea level. The higher the altitude of the bamboo the slower it grows but harder it gets. Ideal growth conditions are from 900 to 1600 altitude meters over sea level.
The maximum diameter reported for Guadua angustifolia is 25 cm and the average is between 9 and 13 centimeters. In the case of Guadua, a 21 cm daily growth in height has been observed, so that it reaches its maximum height (15 – 30 meters) in the first six months of growth and can be harvested after 4 to 5 years.
Unlike many varieties of bamboo, the Guadua does not die when it blooms and therefore does not show gregarious (group) flowering.
Guadua has a unlimited production once it has been established. The ideal composition of culms in a guadua grove is estimated to be 10% shoots, 30% young ones, and 60% mature ones with a density of 3000 to 8000 culms per hectare. This means a productivity of 1,200 – 1,350 culms per hectare per year.
It serves for construction and furniture. In the case of constructions, a good part of the cane is used, the lower part 2-3 meters, known as the leg, is used for poles, the intermediate 4-6 meters for sills and struts and the final 2-3 meters for cane chopped, which is used for bareheque and other uses. For all these cases, preservation or curing treatments are very important.
Due to its presence of thorns in its lower two thirds, it is known as “cana brava”, which is a symbol of rusticity, forming in many cases impenetrable barriers for humans and larger animals, which favors the shelter of birds and small animals.
Bambusa vulgaris, common bamboo, is an open-clump type bamboo species. It is native to Indochina and to the China, but it has been widely cultivated in many other places and has become naturalized in several. Among bamboo species, it is one of the largest and most easily recognized.
It is cultivated up to 2500 meters, producing canes of up to 6 meters and 10 cm in diameter. Its use is ornamental and also to make baskets and crafts. In buildings it is damaged very easily.
Green stems can come out too.
Its green variety is known in the countryside as “Caña mansa” since it looks like Guadua but it does not have thorns. Despite being introduced, it is the most widespread species in the world, especially its Vittata variety, of yellow canes with green lines.
Flowering is not common, and there are no seeds. Fruits are rare due to low pollen viability caused by irregular meiosis. At the interval of several decades, the whole population of an area blooms at once, and individual stems bear a large number of flowers.
It has low silicon content, so it is not as strong as other species, however, this is an advantage when using it for firewood or charcoal since it does not leave crystallized residues in the ovens.
It is the species that produces more cellulose and hemicellulose, so it is good for paper.
A lot of fiber is extracted from their canes for basketry and handicrafts.
For landscaping is very beautiful and can be planted up to 2800 meters above sea level (!), its Buddha Bamboo variety is special.
Mining operations soil improvement
Due to its form of umbrella growth it is used to cover oxidation lagoons, keeping cloistered odors (Sulfur and Ammonia gases that absorb leaves).
Dendrocalamus asper or “Giant Bamboo”
The Dendrocalamus asper species has been introduced widely across Latin America and Africa.
Considered one of the largest Bamboo’s, for its large size, up to 30 meters and 20 cm in diameter. Daily increases in height of 30cm or more during their peak growth time. This makes them some of the fastest-growing species in the world. He achieves his maturity at 6 years. The thickness of your wall is between 1 and 2.5 cm and the distance between nodes is 30 to 50 cm.
Its grows in Cluster and generates the need for a periodic harvesting or it can cause issues of damage to the plant because at a time it does not find space for new outbreaks. Also it does not allow other plants to develop below or surrounding the plant. It can be found from low elevations up to 1,500 meters, though it grows best at an elevation of 400 – 500 meters. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 – 3,600mm, but tolerates 1,200 – 4,500mm. Grows up to 1800 altitude meters above sea level. Ideal average annual rainfall is about 2,400 mm. Is of the cluster type (Pachyimorfa) and has no thorns.
Bamboos in general are usually monocarpic, living for many years before flowering, then flowering and seeding profusely for a period of 1 – 3 years before usually dying. This species usually flowers when around 100 – 120 years old. Dendrocalamus asper flowers gregariously although sporadic flowering has been reported
Dendrocalamus asper poles are used as a building material and structural timber for heavy construction such as houses and bridges. The culm internodes used as containers for water and other fluids, and as cooking pots. This bamboo is also used for making laminated boards, furniture, musical instruments, chopsticks, household utensils and handicrafts. Young shoots are sweet and considered a delicious vegetable.
Young stems – cooked. Free of bitterness. Harvested before they emerge from the soil, they are tender and sweet. They are used as a vegetable, pickled or preserved. They can be cut into strips and used as a substitute for macaroni in soups. The edible portion of young shoots is about 34%; they weigh on average 5.4 kilos before peeling and 1.8 kilos after peeling.
A mature clump may attain a diameter of 3 meters or more and contains about 60 culms. A culm becomes mature when 3 – 4 years old. A good healthy clump can produce several shoots annually. Yields of 10 – 11 tonnes per hectare of bamboo shoots have been reported from Thailand.
Phyllostachys edulis or “Moso bamboo”
This is the largest of the hardy bamboos and one of the most beautiful. Only a few tropical bamboos grow larger. New culms are covered with soft, velvety hairs, which provide protection from insect predation. The common name “Moso”, is the Japanese name which is an interpretation of the Chinese name “Mao Zhu”, which translates to “Hairy Bamboo”. In China it grows as forests and covers vast areas of land. The culm wood is thick and widely used to make tools, utensils and for construction.
Like all Phillostachys, they are of invasive growth, producing stems very straight and looking for the parts with less competition, sometimes sprouts up to 40 meters outside of its mother plant. This causes it to form large networks of soil support. One way to keep your expansion at bay is by harvesting the shoots, in a way
controlled, since the plant needs some to regenerate the plant.
This is a good companion species to grow in a woodland because the plants are shallow rooted and do not compete with deep rooted trees.
Plants only flower at intervals of many years. When they do come into flower most of the plants energies are directed into producing seed and consequently the plant is severely weakened. They sometimes die after flowering, but if left alone they will usually recover though they will look very poorly for a few years.
The Phyllostachys edulis bamboo is edible like the name says – “Edulis” translates as “edible”. Moso shoots are the most commonly eaten bamboo shoots and consist of the majority of the bamboo shoot export from China.
The young shoots are very fast growing, up to 30cm per day!
Its Bamboo shoots are very rich in Fiber, Calcium, Proteins (long and 8-12 cm in diameter 2.4%) and contains 17 amino acids such as Lysine, Glutamine and Arginine, in greater proportions than cabbages, carrots, onions and squash. The amino acids Methionine, Phenylalanine and Valine are unique to Bamboo.
Young shoots – cooked. Very palatable when cooked but acrid raw. Not of the highest quality, but their large size makes them very popular. Extensively eaten in China, they are usually cooked in one change of water. The shoots are harvested in the spring when they are about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level. The dormant young shoots, harvested in the winter before they emerge above the ground, are especially relished as a delicacy.