An Eco-sustainable World
ShrubbySpecies Plant

Bambusa tulda

Bambusa tulda

Indian timber bamboo or Indian bamboo, Bengal bamboo (Bambusa tulda Roxb., 1832) 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. tulda.
The terms are synonyms:
– Bambusa macala Buch.-Ham.;
– Bambusa macala Buch.-Ham. ex Munro;
– Bambusa trigyna Roxb.;
– Bambusa trigyna Roxb. ex Munro;
– Dendrocalamus tulda (Roxb.) Voigt.

Etymology –
The term bamboo comes from the Indian-Malay vernacular bamboo / bambu.
The specific epithet tulda is of local vernacular derivation in the Bengali language, i.e. tulda bans.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Bambusa tulda is a bamboo native to the Indian subcontinent, Indochina, Tibet and Yunnan and present in an area that includes: Assam, Bangladesh, China (Yunnan), Himalaya, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam .
The plant has naturalized in Iraq, Puerto Rico and parts of South America.
Its natural habitat is that of moist semi-deciduous broadleaf forests, where it is common on flat alluvial soils along the banks of dry streams, as in Myanmar, up to about 1500 m of altitude.

Description –
The Bambusa tulda is a perennial rhizomatous bamboo, evergreen or deciduous in periods of drought, which forms dense tufts with erect stems (culms), with slightly curved apex, 6-22 m tall, with a diameter of 5-10 cm and internodes of 35-60 cm, green initially covered by a white bloom; often the lower internodes have 2-3 pale yellow stripes.
Above the nodes there is a ring of whitish down, the basal ones are also equipped with short aerial roots.
The culms are hollow between the nodes and with thick walls, they are initially protected by deciduous trapezoidal bracts, 15-25 cm long and 16-28 cm broad, coriaceous, covered by bristly brown bristles.
The ramifications are present starting from the fourth node, they are numerous, with the three central ones longer than the others;
The leaves are formed in these ramifications in number of 6-10 alternate leaves, distichous, linear lanceolate with long pointed apex, 10-25 cm long and 2-4 cm broad, of intense green color above, greyish and hairy below.
The flowering takes place on plants of many years of age, between 25 and 60 years, with a large panicle inflorescence without leaves with 3-5 spikelets at the nodes, 2,5-8 cm long, carrying 4-6 fertile flowers.
However, the flowering pattern of this bamboo is highly variable. Usually it is an isolated or sporadic flowering, but cases of gregarious and cyclic flowering are not rare. Also in this case the flowering cycles that could be estimated are variable, from 10 to almost 60 years depending on the population. The following cycles have been observed: 10 to 12 years, 16 to 18, 19 to 24, 24 to 30, 40 to 42, 45, 48 and 57 years4.
The 48-year flowering cycle that has been observed in the Indian state of Mizoram corresponds to the thingtam cycle, an ecological crisis phenomenon associated with the flowering and death of bamboo populations associated with the explosion of rat populations and sometimes starvation.
Cases of very early flowering, at the seedling stage, have also been observed.
The inflorescence is variable, carried by bare branches or short fronds. It is a loose bract-bearing sinflorescence arranged in disorderly tufts grouped at each node, subtended by spataceous bracts. These tufts are composed of 2 to 5 pseudo-spikelets, so called because they have buds at the base.
The pseudospikelets, linear-lanceolate, subterete, 2,5 to 7,5 cm long and 5 mm broad, are subtended by numerous glumes (from 2 to 4), and are composed of 4 to 6 fertile flowers and 1 to 2 imperfect or male terminal flowers. At maturity, the spikelets disarticulate under each fertile flower.
The fertile flowers are supported by an oval lemma 12 to 25 mm long and 7 to 8 mm broad, not keeled and with an acute or acuminate apex, and by a palea with 7-9 veins and pubescent apex. The apical sterile flowers are similar to the fertile flowers but underdeveloped. The flowers have 3 membranous lodicules, ribbed and ciliated, 6 purple anthers 7.5 to 10 mm long, 3 stigmas and a pubescent ovary at the apex.
The fruit is oblong in shape, 7.5 mm long; it is a kernel with an adherent pericarp, furrowed on the face which has the hilum, hairy at the apex2,3.
After fruiting, the plant dies.

Cultivation –
Bambusa tulda is one of the most important bamboos in many parts of its range, particularly in India, Bangladesh and northern Thailand, where it provides food and building material, baskets, etc.
It is often grown commercially for use primarily within its natural range.
It is a plant with remarkable growth rates of the humid and lowland tropics, where it can be found at altitudes of up to 1,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are between 22-28°C, but can tolerate 9-32°C.
It prefers an average annual rainfall between 1,200 and 2,500 mm, but tolerates between 700 and 4,500 mm.
For its cultivation it prefers a position in partial shade, also succeeding in full sun.
From a soil point of view, it grows best in fertile, medium to heavy soils, with a pH in the range of 5 – 6, tolerating 4.5 – 6.5.
Bamboos have an interesting growth method. Each plant produces a number of new stems each year – these stems reach their maximum height in their first year of growth, subsequent stem growth is limited to producing new side branches and leaves.
About a month after germination, a seedling produces its first stem and the rhizome also begins to develop at this stage. After 9 months, 4 – 5 young culms have formed.
Shoot growth begins at the beginning of the rainy season and takes about 1 month to emerge from the ground. The height increase of the shoots can reach up to 70 cm per day.
Culms complete their growth within 2 to 3 months of appearing as shoots, and their diameter and height do not increase as they age.
The young shoots to be used as a vegetable should preferably be harvested while they are still underground. In plantations, culling of the oldest stalks can begin 5 – 7 years after sowing. Normally 3 – 4 year old culms are harvested, keeping at least 3 – 6 equidistant culms per tuft. A 4-year abatement cycle is often adopted.
Traditionally, harvested reeds are soaked for 10 – 20 days in running water to improve resistance to some beetles. Subsequently the culms are dried in the air for 1.5 – 3.5 months. The culms suffer considerably from cracking and sagging. The cracks often extend along the entire length of the internodes and the culm collapses at these cracks. To improve their durability, the culms can be treated with solutions of sodium carbonate, calcium hydroxide or copper sulphate.
The annual yield of dry stalks is around 3 tons/Ha in India.
In Bangladesh, several forms are distinguished: “tulda bans” is the normal form; ‘jowa bans’ is a large form with longer and thicker stalks, mainly used for scaffolding and construction; and ‘basini bans’ is a form with a larger hollow in the culms and is mainly used for wicker.
The reproduction takes place by seed, when available, which has a low germinability duration, 1-2 months if not suitably stored, in draining organic loam kept constantly humid at a temperature of 22-24 °C, with germination times of 1-3 weeks.
Division is usually used, extracting a portion of the rhizome with at least 3 culms, cut above the first node, and cutting in summer, using a one-year-old portion of culm with 2-3 nodes.
The new plants thus obtained are initially placed in a slightly shaded environment with high atmospheric humidity until they are well rooted.

Customs and Traditions –
Bambusa tulda is known by various names, including: Bengal bamboo, common bamboo of Bengal, spineless indian bamboo (English); basini bans, tulda bans (Bengali); deo-bans, thaik-wa (Burmese); fu zhu (Chinese); peka bans (Hindi); bong (Laotian); kada bans, singhane bans (Nepali); koraincho bans (Sikkim); mai-bong, phai-bong, wae cho wa (Thai).
The culms of this bamboo, with high mechanical resistance and durability, are widely used, after curing in water for a few weeks and subsequent drying in the sun, in civil constructions, for scaffolding, bridges, fences, fixtures, furniture, tools, tools for fishing and craft items; they are also used in the paper industry, particularly in India, and as fuel.
The most important characteristic of B. tulda is its incredible tensile strength: up to about 4,185 kg per square cm.
As regards food uses, the young shoots, with a slightly bitter taste, are used in various typical local dishes and the leaves as fodder for animals.
In medicinal use, the siliceous secretion of the culm is considered an aphrodisiac and tonic.
Finally, it is also of considerable importance in religious ceremonies and in traditional medicine.
Other uses include agroforestry. In its natural range Bambusa tulda is also often planted as a windbreak around farms and fields.

Method of Preparation –
The young shoots of this bamboo are edible but have a slightly bitter taste, so they are often pickled.
The young shoots are harvested as soon as they emerge from the ground.
Other uses include the building one.
The stalks are generally used for construction, scaffolding, furniture, boxes, wicker, mats, household utensils, handicrafts and as a raw material for papier-mâché.
In Thailand, the artifacts made with this bamboo, polished with a mixture of Young oil and oleoresin, are famous.

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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