Botanical name: Bambusa vulgaris Family: Poaceae (grass family)
When the bamboo flowers, famine, death and destruction will soon follow, goes a traditional saying in Mizoram, the tiny hill state in north-east India. Beliefs apart, anyone familiar with bamboo has probably heard that, when bamboo flowers it dies! Bamboos are giant, woody grasses which grow to several full length, full diameter, culms ("stems") each year. A single bamboo clump can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter in its lifetime. Bamboo is the most diverse group of plants in the grass family, and the most primitive sub-family. It is distinguished by a woody culm, complex branching and infrequent flowering. It has a tropical and subtropical distribution, reaching elevations as high as 13,123 feet (4,000 meters) in the Himalayas and parts of China.
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