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Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C.Rivière 1878
pronounced: fy-loh-STAK-iss AW-ree-uh
(Poaceae — the grass family)
sub-family: Bambusoides – the bamboos
synonym: Bambusa aurea Carrière 1878
pronounced: bam-BOO-suh AW-ree-uh
common name: Golden Bamboo
Phyllostachys comes from the Greek φυλλον (phyllon), leaf, foliage, and σταχυς (stachys) an ear of corn, spike – leaf spike – and aurea from the Latin aureus, golden. The word bamboo is from the Malay word for the plant, bambu.
The Golden Bamboo originated in East China, but was introduced into Japan many hundreds of years ago. It is on the list of invasive weed species in Queensland. There are quite a few clumps on Magnetic Island.
This is a large clumping bamboo that produces big woody underground rhizomes that can damage paving, buildings or drainage systems if planted too close to them. There are over 1,200 varieties of bamboo throughout the world, found from very cold climates to the hot tropics. Many of these are non-invasive varieties, much more suited to the garden situation than the Golden Bamboo, which really needs to be containerized.
The Golden Bamboo has green foliage and inconspicuous flowers and fruits. Its leaves are retained from year to year. It has a long life span relative to most other plant species, and a rapid growth rate. At maturity (about 20 years) it can reach about 7 m in height. It is a very tough plant, and the foliage is dense. The culms are naturally green, but if the plant is grown in the sun they will turn a golden colour.
Bamboos are very popular with the Chinese, both for screening purposes and for eating. The young shoots, even of the Golden Bamboo, are used extensively in Chinese cuisine. It is rumoured that even wealthy Chinese ladies in Australian cities sneak out early on spring mornings to steal bamboo shoots from clumps of Golden Bamboo on public land, and freeze them for use during the remainder of the year. In cities with extensive Chinatowns, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, Golden Bamboo is frequently grown in troughs along the edges of patios and balconies to form an almost impenetrable barrier against the world outside.
Photographs taken 2010, 2012, Picnic Bay
Page last updated 20th January 2017