Bamboos at Bukit Timah Core
The bamboos, together with several herbaceous grasses, are members of Bambusoideae, a subfamily of the grass family Gramineae. At least 90 genera and 1200 species of bamboos are distributed throughout the world’s temperate, tropical and subtropical regions.
Bamboos first developed as forest plants, or along forest margin, and evolved into a highly diverse and distributed group. They grow from sea level to high mountainous regions. Bamboo forms includes delicate, fernlike, tropical, herbaceous plants, perennial groundcovers, shrubs, vining climbers and arborescent timber bamboo. They share certain basic similarities that place them apart from other grasses: they have segmented, typically hollow and somewhat woody stems, called culms, that sprout from the rhizomes, the underground stems. Except for the oceanic kelps, bamboo is the world’s fastest plant. New bamboo culms can grow more than several feet in a 24-hour period.
Bamboo is a principal defining element for many traditional cultures. Bamboo is shelter; it is food, and the means to acquire food. Some of the bamboos found in the Gardens’ bamboo collection are the Chinese Goddess bamboo, Bambusa multiplex, Buddha’s belly bamboo, Bambusa vulgaris ‘Wamin’, Giant bamboo, Dendrocalamus giganteus, Black bamboo or Bambu hitam, Gigantochloa atroviolacea and Bambu tali, Gigantochloa apus.