Bambos stricta Roxb.
Deciduous, densely tufted bamboo; culms solid or with a small cavity, 6-15 m high, 2.5-7.5 cm in diameter but varying according to climate; nodes ± swollen and in open situations bearing leafy, often deflexed branches even from the base, lower nodes often rooting; internodes 30-45 cm long. Culm sheaths variable, the lower shorter than the upper, 8-30 cm long, covered on the back with stiff golden-brown hairs, sometimes glabrous in dry localities, striate, rounded at the tip, ciliate on the margins, very slightly auricled; imperfect blade triangular, subulate, hairy on both sides. Leaf-blades linear-lanceolate, varying from 2.5-5 cm long in dry localities to 25 cm long in moist ones, and 0.5-3 cm wide, rounded abruptly at the base into a short petiole, gradually narrowed upwards into a sharply acuminate, twisted point, rough and often hairy above, softly hairy beneath, scabrid on the margins. Inflorescence a panicle of large dense globular heads, 3-5 cm apart. Spike-lets spiny, usually hairy, the fertile intermixed with many smaller sterile ones, 75-12 mm long, 2.5-5 mm wide, with 2-3 fertile florets; bracts and glumes similar, ovate, spiny; lemma ovate, tipped with a sharp spine surrounded by tufts of hair; palea ovate or obovate, emarginate. Caryopsis brown, shining, ovoid to sub-globose, about 8 mm long, hairy above, beaked with the persistent base of the style; pericarp coriaceous.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: Flowers November-April, fruit ripens in June.
Type: India, Roxburgh (K).
Distribution: Pakistan (Punjab & Kashmir); Nepal; throughout much of India to Burma, Singapore and Java.
Usually an undershrub in deciduous forests, Male Bamboo is the most widespread bamboo in Southeast Asia and is the foundation of India’s paper industry. The foliage affords abundant fodder for elephants. It flowers gregariously over large areas at intervals of perhaps 25-35 years (see McClure, The Bamboos, p. 169. 1966). It may also be found flowering sporadically, a few clumps at a time, almost every year in most localities. These clumps, however, die after flowering and the seed set is poorer than that produced during gregarious flowering.