Description from Flora of China
Shrubby bamboos. Rhizomes leptomorph, with running underground stems. Culms pluricaespitose, less than 1 m, distally flexuose; internodes flattened on branching sides; nodes 2-ridged. Branches 3–5, slender, often without secondary branchlets, usually with persistent membranous prophylls and branch sheaths. Culm sheaths deciduous, papery, transverse veins distinct; auricles absent; ligule well developed; blade lanceolate to subulate, small. Leaves usually solitary on each branchlet; sheaths contiguous with branchlets, thickened, petiole-like, rarely 2 or more with median sheaths exceeding proximal and distal ones; auricles absent; ligule usually long, conical and highly involute in solitary or upper leaves; blade very broadly lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, transverse veins distinct. Inflorescence bracteate, partially iterauctant, composed of 1-spikeleted racemes gathered in fascicles with a spathate prophyll, 0 or 1 empty bract, and 0–3 gemmiferous bracts. Spikelets 2–7-flowered, lower 1 or 2 fertile, upper ones sterile. Glumes usually absent; lemma membranous, broadly lanceolate, apex acuminate; palea 2-keeled; lodicules 3, narrowly obovate, membranous. Stamens 3. Style 1; stigmas 3, plumose. Fruit a caryopsis.
In addition to the species treated below, Shibataea pygmaea F. Maekawa (J. Jap. Bot. 19: 150. 1943) was described from Jiangxi. This species was based on abnormal material, and it is difficult to confirm its identity, since no Shibataea has been found at the type locality. Shibataea tumidinoda T. H. Wen (J. Bamboo Res. 7(1): 23. 1988) was described from Fujian. This species was based on a poor gathering, and its identity is uncertain.
These bamboos are usually cultivated as ornamentals. One species was introduced to Japan at an early date and has been widely planted there.
* Seven species:China.
(Authors: Wang Zhengping (王正平 Wang Cheng-ping); Chris Stapleton)