Author Topic: Black Bamboo - currently flowering and dying worldwide  (Read 1879 times)


  • Hectare
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  • North London - heavy but fertile clay
This is the black Phyllostachys nigra species.

I'm posting this here because it's technically edible - the shoots aren't my favourite for flavour but that's all down to taste.

It's a weird thing how this happens every 40 years or so - it flowers, producing masses of seeds (loved by rats to the extent of causing a population explosion). I will try some once they are ripe. I don't think this 40yr timescale applies to the whole genus, but I can't find any info I can trust - other genera do have different timings - some take 100 years.


You can find all this on t'web - but it means that lots of people will need to cut all the canes down and use a rat-proof way to store the seeds.

That's a big job and can be risky with saws etc. Bamboo sap is also very bad on the skin - especially in sunlight.

I find the ideal tool is an angle grinder with a stone cutter disk - a medium 3-4mm one works well, and can also be used to remove the root system (only a few cm down) by cutting downwards easily through rhizome mats, soil & stones. Once you separate the mat into squares (a bit wider than your spade) they can be levered out really easily.

it's actually the perfect method to remove the running types and it's also possible to cut new plants from the (friendlier) clumping genera - like Fargesia.

Personally I'm looking forward to living without it - it's often sold as non-running - that's high BS - it just isn't the fastest. Despite finding the ideal way to control it, it's still an annual task once it gets past 2m wide - and worse when it starts going under paths, walls and ponds.

It will take years to grow the new version from seed, and 2 more years before you can judge how black and how shiny each seedling is. Can't be bothered.

I'm going to buy something from the proper clumping species once I've got mine out (hopefully better-tasting shoots too - but that info is very hard to find) - but I'll still keep it well away from paths and walls this time.


With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.


  • Hectare
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  • Gardening on fen silt
Re: Black Bamboo - currently flowering and dying worldwide
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2024, 07:08:19 »
Thanks for this interesting and useful information, Vinlander. I havenít quite understood the full implications. Youíre saying that the whole plant will die, including roots? So your method for removing roots is simply to clear the ground ready for planting something else?

I believe youíre also saying that all Phyllostachys nigra will flower, whatever their age. A fascinating phenomenon if so, weird as you say. I shall inspect mine with interest.

Presumably the flowering and seed-setting will take some weeks or months. Iím not too keen on an explosion of rats and Iím wondering whether itís possible to keep removing any flowers and whether that would keep the plant alive indefinitely. No mean task; mine is well above my height.


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