Growth Cycle of the Giant Bamboo

This week’s photo challenge from the Daily Post has my head reeling.  Growth, particularly in plants, fascinates me – it’s the repressed farmer in me, I think.  Anyway, I can’t resist the excuse to post this series of photographs I have been collecting of the phases of growth of the giant bamboos in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya.

It was only the other day that I was able to capture a decent image of the first knobby shoots, when I went for a walk after lunch in the Gardens.

At about 18 inches the dark, aubergine knobs become delicate pink candles outlined with frilly purple spikes.

I love this shoot – about a metre tall at this stage – it reminds me of a sort of avant-garde Carmen Miranda sculpture.

When the shoots begin to harden, their salmon pink sheathes peel away to reveal delicate brushed steel stalks

This still life with pink shoots caught my attention the other day also

Several clumps – this size and larger – line the banks of the Mahaweli River that almost encircles the Gardens. I noticed quite a lot of wind damage this week, but the clumps are as healthy and vigorous as ever.

55 thoughts on “Growth Cycle of the Giant Bamboo

  1. Bamboos can be horribly invasive, even pushing up paths. The correct place for them is in a botanic gardens, like yours, where they can be admired and not battled with!

    • I think they’re amazing too – have a couple of smaller types here and whenever a new shoot appears I follow its growth avidly, but they’re not as dramatic as those giants in the Botanic Gardens.

  2. The bamboo is impressive. I like the way last one shows us the scale of the trunks by placing a person in the frame. Those bamboo shoots look like Pine tree trunks!


    • Glad you got the full picture, Allan – photographs can be a bit misleading sometimes, when you’re talking of scale. There’s a clump a bit further up the hill by a little lake that must be 30 – 40 feet across – just enormous!

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  5. As a child I became fascinated with bamboo and tried to find out how it worked. Of course there was no internet back then so I couldn’t “google” it (imagine that). I’d forgotten about that, as a child will move on to the next curiosity, until I read this post. You made the magic of bamboo very vivid in this kids mind. 😉

    • This giant stuff, or a couple of inches across stuff? I have a couple in my garden that give me great pleasure, but not so dramatic as the giant!

      I’ve always loved the look of it, and the sound of the wind in the leaves and clacking stalks, and am so excited about what they’re doing with bamboo laminates and things these days.

  6. it looks amazing, a living artwork ….. our giant bamboo did not survive, not only too cool but nibbling marsupials finished it off … you could enter this in jake’s challenge Splendid too!

    • So sad about your giant – but i guess plants, like people, need what they need and there’s no point trying to force them to go where they’re unhappy! I’d never thought of it for Jake’s – bit of a cheek, seeing I’ve already entered it!

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  8. This is gorgeous – what huge, fat buds! In Jamaica we have a lot of bamboo growing wild too, but not this variety. I find bamboo quite magical – a bamboo grove on a hillside is so beautiful.

  9. Bamboo grows like weeds here. At our last house, the neighbours’ bamboo came under the wall and through the brickpaving in our driveway. It could grow 6 inches overnight. 😦

  10. I’m backing in to posts I didn’t get to over the weekend, and I’m so glad I didn’t miss this one. Beautiful! I love the pink color on the shoots; I can see a frothy long dress in that color. Repressed farmer? Really?

  11. Bamboo gets a lot of bad press but it is an interesting and magnificent) not to mention useful) plant 🙂 Great shots from shoot to full growth.

    • Thanks Ella. Shame people don’t discriminate between the clumping and crawling varieties, because it is an incredible plant, and as you said, so useful – and becoming more so all the time with new technologies 🙂

    • Looks like it, doesn’t it? I was captivated by those pink shoots with the aubergine tufts years ago and have been collecting shots of them ever since – but I did get a couple of real goodies this time when I was up in Kandy, especially the bulbous new shoots. 🙂

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