What Is The Life-span Of Bamboo?


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Steve Theunissen Profile
Bamboo has a life-span of as long as 120 years. That is almost 44,000 days. Yet most bamboo completes its growth in its first sixty days!

Just as the blue whale is the largest living animal ever to have inhabited earth, so bamboo is noted as the fastest growing of present-day plants. It can be heard growing and it can be seen to grow. Reports have been made of four feet of growth in a single day! A bamboo forest literally crackles with vitality.
The stalk or culm never grows after that initial spurt skyward. It may then stand there, never changing size for almost the next century and a quarter.

When the sprout reaches less than a foot above the ground, it visibly contains within it all the joints that the full-grown culm will possess. One can slice the bamboo sprout, and there see compressed inside all the segments of what would have grown to be a 120-foot-high giant! It is similar with a tulip bulb. Cut it in half and you will find the complete embryonic tulip flower that would have bloomed in spring had this surgery not been performed.

Although its remarkable spurt skyward is completed in a few weeks, the bamboo still grows underground. Even if the tall jointed bamboo stalk is cut down, as often happens, this underground growth continues. There, unseen to the eye, a marvelous replacement process goes on. Each year from 200 to 1,500 new shoots per acre will be produced either in clumps or in underground runners. These form an ever-increasing kindergarten of progeny.

When the new sprouts nose their way through the soil in the spring, all energy of the growing bamboo is directed to lofting the new crop into the air. Underground growth temporarily ceases during this upward growth.

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