Shoots of color

Although I grow a lot of bamboo by most gardeners' standards, I grow a lot less than some bamboo collectors who have 100, 150, even 200 or more different species and varieties. Still, I have enough different types that I can appreciate the allure of shooting season.


Bamboo shoots of one species are exciting and can be lovely alone, but only when you get a few different species shooting at once can you really see the comparative beauty.

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Right now I have seven of the large bamboo varieties shooting, but four of those are different forms of the same species, and their shoots look identical. I harvested a few wayward shoots the other day, and they look fantastic side by side:


That's Phyllostachys glauca 'Yunzhu' in dark red and Phyllostachys bissetii all in green; Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocaulis' is the light one with stripes. Just beautiful!

Phyllostachys glauca 'Yunzhu'

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Aureocaulis'

Phyllostachys bissetii

The culm sheaths are the tough protective covering for the shoots, and will fall off one the culms grow a bit more. They often have some of the most beautiful and colorful patterns, and once they're gone the bamboo often loses its uniqueness. So much so that in some cases the new shoots are the only way to identify a species.


I think most bamboo growers get excited by the unknown of shooting season: how many shoots will emerge? How thick will the new culms be? How tall will they get? I do too, but also love to take some time and just enjoy the beauty of the new shoots.


A few more of my plants haven't started shooting yet -- even with the mild winter it's still much too early for them -- so I've got the camera on stand-by, ready to capture their unique beauty as well.

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Gerhard Bock  – (March 31, 2012 at 10:54 AM)  

Awesome! I'll never experience this myself so seeing your photos is the next best thing.

Matthew  – (March 31, 2012 at 8:23 PM)  

Beautiful! Shooting season really is a magical time in bambooland!

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