A Guide to Different Types of Bamboo Wood

types of bamboo wood

Bamboo is a popular grass type mainly used in gardens and landscaping and occasionally as timber in construction and woodworking.

Bamboo wood is a member of the Poaceae (grass) family and boasts diverse species most of which are found in South Asia, China, Japan, India, and other countries. Timber-producing bamboo species belong to the Phyllostachys and Bambusa genres and may include Hedge bamboo, Green Glaucous bamboo, Moso bamboo, and Black bamboo.

Bamboo trees are known for their exceptional heights for their narrow diameter, with some towering up to 100 feet with diameters of only up to 6 inches. Bamboo is prized as a lightweight but strong and stiff timber with an exceptional Janka Hardness score of 1,410-1,610 lbf.

Bamboo is not very durable and is also susceptible to insect attacks. In terms of workability, it might require extra care due to its high silica content. Its uniform, pale yellow appearance and even grain make bamboo a favored choice for sustainable flooring, furniture, veneer, and musical instruments. Raw bamboo is available in plenty and costs low, but processed timber or items can be quite expensive.

Exploring Different Types of Bamboo (Grass)

There are many species of bamboo, found all over the world. In this article, we’ll talk about the 13 most popular species of bamboo and their applications.

1. Buddha Bamboo (Bambusa ventricosa)

It is native to Southeast Asia, is recognized for its unique, Buddha-shaped swollen internodes. Due to its distinct appearance, this bamboo finds applications primarily in landscaping and is also commonly used in ornamental gardening. Other uses include decorative projects, such as garden borders and potted plants. The unique appearance of Buddha Bamboo adds aesthetic value to every project. It also holds commercial importance in the horticultural and plantation sectors and also finds applications in traditional crafts and small/speciality woodworking projects.

2. Umbrella Bamboo (Fargesia murielae)

Found primarily in China, it is a tree-shaped plant known for its graceful stems that form a fluffy foliage. It’s commonly used in landscaping, generally to act as a privacy screen or hedge and also sometimes as an ornamental plant. The grass is preferred for its ability to grow in adverse conditions. Commercially, Umbrella Bamboo is bought and used for its aesthetic appeal, mainly for landscaping in gardens, and parks, and also as a potted plant. Known for its versatility and low maintenance needs, Umbrella Bamboo can survive in various climates.

3. Guadua Bamboo

Native to South America, it is particularly found in the Andean region. The giant bamboo tree can be recognized for its impressive size and outstanding strength. Culms usually have thick walls and the tree grows rapidly. Guadua finds diverse commercial applications across sectors, from construction (used as a sustainable and strong building material for houses and bridges) to decoration, furniture making, and crafts. Prized for its strength, sustainability, and flexibility, Guadua Bamboo is commonly used in many sustainable woodworking applications.

4. Hedge Bamboo (Phyllostachys glauca)

It is a clumping bamboo plant found commonly in China. Its name indicates dense and upright canes, which make it suitable for creating hedges and privacy screens in landscaping applications. Other commercial applications of Hedge Bamboo include its use for making ornamental decorations in gardens and as a versatile eco-friendly barrier. As a hedge material, it is commonly used for making boundaries to reduce noise and provide a natural division in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

5. Japanese Arrow Bamboo

Japanese Arrow Bamboo, scientifically known as Pseudosasa japonica, is a popular bamboo species found extensively in Japan and China. It can be recognized by its straight, arrow-like culms, which also make it a popular choice in landscaping for building visually striking hedges, screens, scenery, and borders.

Commercially, Japanese Arrow Bamboo has been traditionally used for erosion control due to its strong root system. Its thin, long canes are also used in crafts, furniture, and for building small structures.

6. Japanese Cane Bamboo

Japanese Cane Bamboo, scientifically called Arundinaria japonica, is a type of bamboo specie which is native to Japan. A species of Arundinaria bamboo is also found in India. Known for its slim, long, and flexible canes, it is primarily used in the crafting industry, from making fishing rods to various handicraft applications. Its exceptional strength and flexibility characteristics make it ideal for rod-making. While not extensively used in large-scale commercial applications, the plant holds significant cultural and artisanal importance in its native region.

7. Green Glaucous bamboo (Phyllostachys viridiglaucescens)

A bamboo type native to China. It is known for its unique blue-green culms, it has been used traditionally in landscaping for decoration and ornamental purposes. Commercial applications include the production of garden stakes, barriers, fencing, and various sustainable decorative items. Its versatility, flexibility, and aesthetic appeal make it a popular choice for adding graciousness to gardens and outdoor spaces.

8. Dwarf Green Stripe Bamboo

Dwarf Green Stripe Bamboo, scientifically called Pleioblastus viridistriatus, is a compact-size bamboo plant recognized for its lean green canes decorated with appealing yellow stripes. It has a tight growth circle and thrives well in small gardens, pots, and containers, or can be used as ground cover.

While not commonly used in commercial applications such as woodworking, it finds ornamental and decorative uses in various landscaping and gardening projects. Common applications include decorative borders and attractive accents in exterior spaces.

9. Painted Bamboo

It is a type of bamboo that is artificially colored for use in decorative and landscaping applications. Bamboo is dyed through various mechanisms to give it vibrant hues, with a mix of colors, to make it perfect for use in various interior and exterior decorative projects.

Common applications include furniture, flooring, and decorative accents in the interior design space, making home decor items in craft and DIY projects, such as baskets, artwork, and lampshades. Additionally, painted bamboo is also used for making fashion accessories like jewelry and handbags.

10. Chilean Bamboo

Chilean Bamboo, scientifically known as Chusquea culeou, is a bamboo type common in the South American countries of Chile and Argentina. Celebrated for its tall canes and dense foliage, it finds applications in landscaping and decorative projects, ranging from creating hedges and screens to ornamental garden decoration.

11. Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis)

A giant bamboo plant native to China and also cultivated in plantations across East Asia. It is prized for its rapid growth and massive height and is used in various commercial applications.

Moso Bamboo is used in many commercial and domestic applications, from flooring and furniture to building construction due to its natural strength and durability. Other common applications include the production of sustainable fabrics, paper, and culinary projects and cuisine.

12. Timber Bamboo

Timber Bamboo, as the name suggests, refers to bamboo species that feature large and strong bamboo canes, cultivated mainly for use as timber in woodworking and construction applications. They are used as a sustainable and eco-friendly timber alternative for the construction of structural elements, flooring, and furniture. Other applications include crafting tools, garden barriers, stakes, and other outdoor projects.

13. Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra)

A visually appealing bamboo variety prized for its distinctive dark blackish culms. While commonly used in landscaping projects ranging from decorative plants, hedging, and screens, it also finds applications in the crafting sector and is used for making decorative furniture, flooring, and designer items.

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