An Eco-sustainable World
ShrubbySpecies Plant

Bambusa lako

Bambusa lako

Timor black bamboo (Bambusa lako Widjaja, 1997) is a shrub species belonging to the Poaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subkingdom Tracheobionta,
Spermatophyta superdivision,
Magnoliophyta division,
Class Liliopsida,
Subclass Commelinidae,
Cyperales Order,
Poaceae family,
Subfamily Bambusoideae,
Bambuseae tribe,
Subtribe Bambusinae.
Genus Bambusa,
Species B. lako.

Etymology –
The term bamboo comes from the Indian-Malay vernacular bamboo / bambu.
The specific epithet lako derives from the vernacular name used in the places of origin.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Bambusa lako is a plant native to and present only on the island of Timor (main island of the archipelago of the Lesser Sunda Islands, part of the Malay archipelago).
Its habitat is that of the primary rainforest, characterized by a tropical climate.

Description –
Bambusa lako is a perennial, evergreen and rhizomatous plant which forms fairly compact tufts, consisting of large culms which grow up to 21 m in height and have a diameter of up to a maximum of 10 cm.
The culms are initially green before maturing to a glossy black colour, sometimes with scattered green streaks; these grow vertically, although they may hang down at the top.
The culms are hollow between the nodes, which are 25-35 cm apart, with walls 0,8-1,2 cm thick, with a particularly glossy surface, initially of a green color which with time becomes blackish purple, possibly with thin stripes green and yellow.
In the juvenile phase the culms are protected by deciduous triangular bracts, 10-30 cm long, covered by blackish brown hairs.
The shoots grow rapidly in warmer climates.
The branches are short and the leaves long and pendulous; the single foliar blades can reach the 25 cm.
To date, this species has not been observed in flower.

Cultivation –
Bambusa lako is a perennial plant that grows on the island of Thyme but has been introduced into cultivation in the United States and Australia.
This bamboo resists up to minimum temperatures of -4 °C.
For the cultivation it requires an exposition in full sun to grow at its best, even if it bears a slight shade.
From the pedological point of view it requires fertile soils, from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, well drained, kept constantly humid.
In the climates with a dry season it is to be regularly irrigated, even if adult individuals can overcome short periods of drought, but to the detriment of the general appearance, in fact in such circumstances the leaves dry up and fall; useful regular fertilizations during the vegetative period with slow release balanced products with microelements.
It can be cultivated, as an ornamental plant, in capacious containers for the decoration of open spaces or greenhouses and winter gardens where the climate does not allow the permanence in open air with continuity.
The plant reproduces by division of rhizomes and more frequently by stem cutting to be carried out preferably at the end of the vegetative season, when the plant has accumulated the maximum reserves, using a portion with two or three nodes provided with buds, taken from culms of 2-3 years of age, placed obliquely or vertically on a sandy substrate rich in organic substance kept humid at a temperature of 24-26 °C.

Customs and Traditions –
Bambusa lako is a plant known by the names of: Timor black bamboo or Timor giant black (English); au lako, au meta, au metan, au lako meta (East Timor).
This bamboo was described and separated from the Gigantochloa atroviolacea species by botany professor Elizabeth A. Widjaja in 1997, as its appearance (morphology) was different.
However, only non-flowered material was observed and the author noted the need to examine the flowered material to confirm the classification. This can be difficult with bamboos which can take up to 120 years to flower. A 2000 molecular study examined the material of several bamboo species and concluded that the two species were closely related and that B. lako would be best placed in the genus Gigantochloa.
The young shoots of this plant are used, which are edible.
The culms are used by the local populations in construction, for walls and roofs, and to make furniture and various types of handicraft objects.
The leaves are used as fodder for animals.
It is a bamboo of great ornamental and landscaping value, among the most appreciated ever, non-invasive and relatively rapid growth in the best cultivation conditions; it can be utilized in medium-sized parks and gardens as an isolated group, at the edges of avenues or for elegant barriers, even windbreaks, provided the local temperatures, and in particular the minimum ones, allow it.

Method of Preparation –
Bambusa lako is a plant whose young shoots are edible.
The culms of this bamboo are used by the local populations as a building material, for walls and roofing, and to make furniture and handicrafts of various types.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

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Attention: The pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; we therefore decline all responsibility for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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