Description from Flora of China
Clump-forming climbing bamboo, tall, with slender culms. Rhizomes short necked, pachymorph. Culms flexuose, nearly solid; nodes slightly prominent. Branch complements several to many, 1 dominant and sometimes about as thick as and replacing main culm. Culm sheaths persistent, leathery; auricles present, sometimes very small; ligule short, inconspicuous; blade erect or reflexed, large. Leaf blade large or medium sized, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, rounded at base. Inflorescence iterauctant, glomerate, on large leafless flowering branches, subtended by 1-keeled prophylls. Spikelets 2-flowered, with rachilla extension, small, to 4 mm. Glumes 2, ovate, glabrous; lemma similar to glumes. Palea 2-keeled, equal to or slightly longer than lemma. Lodicules 3, glabrous, ciliate on margin. Stamens 6; filaments free. Ovary stalkless, glabrous; style very short; stigmas 2 or 3, plumose. Caryopsis berrylike, globose, 1.5–2 cm, with fleshy pericarp, without endosperm, sometimes viviparous.
In addition to the species treated below, Melocalamus ningmingensis Ohrnberger (Bamboos World Introd. 4: 19. 1997) was published as a nomen novum for M. gracilis W. T. Lin (J. S. China Agric. Univ. 14(3): 110. 1993, not R. B. Majumdar, 1989), which was described from sterile material from Guangxi (Ningming).
About five species:Bangladesh, S China, India (Assam), Myanmar; four species (three endemic) in SW China.
(Authors: Li Dezhu (李德铢); Chris Stapleton)