Not sure if a bamboo is a runner or clumper? Exercise caution.

A customer who bought bamboo from us in January recently went to a local flea market where she purchased a container of bamboo from someone who couldn't say what kind of bamboo it was.  The customer then sent us the following picture of the bamboo along with an email asking us to identify the plant for her:

Buying bamboo from someone who isn't certain what kind of bamboo they are selling is risky

Hi, I went to a flea market and stumbled upon a bamboo that almost has a resemblances of a golden goddess, but I am not sure. She didn't even know what it was either. It was claimed as an clumper. Do you think you could identify it? I have the picture.

My response:
It is definitely not Golden Goddess and there's a good chance it is not a clumping bamboo at all.  When you buy bamboo from someone who has no idea what plant they are selling - especially if that bamboo is tantalizing inexpensive - you are very likely to be purchasing one of the many varieties of running bamboo, all of which are much easier to propagate than clumping varieties.  

Running bamboos are invasive and once established, they are very difficult to remove. 

Instead of planting in the ground what might turn out to be an unwanted running bamboo, you might try growing it in a large pot for one growing season.  After a year, you will be able to tell by its growth patterns whether it is a clumping or running bamboo.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, funny you posted this on your blog. Well, that is the picture I sent. Hello!

    I can't blame you for saying how some people do sell unknown bamboo species, and not expect the worse. I do own another acre on the other side that is prepared to take any runner, or giant clumper away from our yard.

    I did compare it to the giant timber...It was a little small. She did give me things such as it only grown up to 35 feet tall, and had a vibrant green culms, and clumped together in her yard. However, I didn't understand why she called it "evergreen" which she didn't know of the species. Since evergreen is a runner bamboo. I guess she just called it that since she wasn't so sure.

    You pretty much know most of it already. The major clue was it didn't fair well in the cold. And I asked pressed her kindly if it killed back the culms. She then tells me it isn't "cold sensitive" after it was pretty much obvious that the bamboo does not do too great where I live. Especially in Dunnellon where the temperature does drop lower then the south.

    Oh, a long time ago. I had another species. My brother gave it to me, and it also is a clumper. Yet he didn't know what it was! One day I would have to take a shot of it too.

    It has a golden, greenish culm with a five leaves on each branch. Small too.

    Thanks for posting this, it will help me better to find out what it is. If anyone can make a better suggestion.