Bamboo plant blossoming

Gilles Guerin guerin at
Fri Jul 26 06:15:38 EST 1996

Richard Harmon wrote:
> John Booth <100415.2533 at CompuServe.COM> wrote:
> >Have a gardener friend who would like to know if there is
> >any information regarding the blossoming of bamboo plants.
> >He is in Germany, and many bamboo plants are blossoming this
> >year. As I understand, once a bamboo plant blossoms, it is
> >doomed to die. This is supposed to take place every 100
> >years or so.

Some bamboo species are "monocarpic" which means they die after 
blooming. There is a lot of monocarpic species : some palms, many 
poaceae, some meconopsis (papaveracea family), etc. There is no way to 
prevent flowering. In general seeds of this kind of plants have a very 
high natural germination rate.

For bamboos, the story generally tells : when a particular species of 
bamboo is flowering ALL bamboos of this species IN THE WORLD are also 
flowering. This is very controversial. There is no certitude it concerns 
ALL bamboos of that particular species in ALL the world. Nonetheless, 
evidence of this phenomena exists for areas as large as regions, and the 
simultaneity of flowering in distinct regions in the world is 
Explanations could be : these bamboos are a unique clone, the natural 
cycle of germination is very stable, etc. For  smaller regions in 
particular in large bamboo groves, other biochemical reasons could be 
involved (flowering induction is under some hormones control and some 
are volatile which means the first plant to flower can induce the 
flowering of others). (One of this hormone is ethylene but I don't know 
if it is actually involved in bamboo flowering induction,  by instance 
this hormone has been widely used to induce simultaneous flowering - and 
fruiting- of ananas).

> >Can anyone help me here regarding information and/or information
> >sources?
Any gardening book on bamboos will tell the all story :-)

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