Bamboo Species of Colombia

Bamboo Species of Colombia

9 genera, 70 species

Colombia has the second highest woody bamboo diversity in Latin America. At present, 9 genera and 70 species are reported, with 24 species being endemic and at least 12 species remaining to be described.

The Andean region has the largest quantity and greatest diversity of woody species (89%) and the Eastern Cordillera is the richest with 55% of all woody bamboos reported until now. About 60% of the woody species are found from 2,000 to 3,500m altitude.

The Colombian departments (states) with the highest woody bamboo diversity are Norte de Santander, Cundinamarca, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Antiquia, Huila, Narino and Quandio. The majority of species belong to Chusquea genus (30%), with the rest of the species belonging to the genera Arthrostylidium, Aulonemia, Elytrostachys, Merostachys, Neurolepis, Rhipidocladum, Guadua and Otatea.

Records - of

Species Name



Arthrostylidium auriculatum 2-3 mm 2-4 m
Arthrostylidium chiribiquetensis
Arthrostylidium ecuadorense 1-2.5 mm 3-6 m
Arthrostylidium pubescens 10-25 mm 5-15 m
Arthrostylidium punctulatum 5-10 mm 4-7 m
Arthrostylidium simpliciusculum 4-10 mm 10-12 m
Arthrostylidium venezuelae 10-30 mm 3-10 m
Arthrostylidium virolinensis 1-3 mm 2-3 m
Arthrostylidium youngianum 5-15 mm 12 m
Aulonemia bogotensis 1-2.5 mm 0.3-1.1 m
Aulonemia patula 5-15 mm 2.5-5 m
Aulonemia pumila 2-3 mm 0.5-1 m
Aulonemia queko 20-30 mm 8-15 m
Aulonemia robusta 10-25 mm 2-4 m
Aulonemia trianae
Chusquea albilanata 10-15 mm 3-5 m
Chusquea angustifolia 2-12 mm 0.1-1 m
Chusquea antioquensis
Chusquea arachniforme
Chusquea fendleri
Chusquea grandiflora 18 m
Chusquea latifolia 15 mm 40 m
Chusquea lehmannii ssp. lehmannii
Chusquea lehmannii ssp. farinosa
Chusquea ligulata
Chusquea londoniae 15-20 mm 7-9 m
Chusquea longiprophylla 10-15 mm 5-10 m
Chusquea maculata 10-30 mm 4-12 m
Chusquea pallida
Chusquea purdieana
Chusquea scandens 10-25 mm 2-6 m
Chusquea serpens 10 mm 20 m
Chusquea serrulata
Chusquea simpliciflora 5-10 mm 5-25 m
Chusquea sneidernii 23-40 mm 16 m
Chusquea spadicea
Chusquea spathacea 10 mm 2-6 m
Chusquea spencei 5-40 mm 2-6 m
Chusquea spencei X C. tessellata
Chusquea subulata 60-80 mm 7-10 m
Chusquea tessellata 10 mm 3 m
Chusquea tuberculosa 7 mm
Chusquea uniflora 4 mm
Elytrostachys clavigera 40 mm
Elytrostachys typical 40 mm 6-10 m
Guadua amplexifolia 60-100 mm 10-15 m
Guadua angustifolia 70-200 mm 7-30 m
Guadua angustifolia var. bicolor 100-120 mm 15-18 m
Guadua angustifolia var. nigra
Guadua glomerata 10-45 mm 8-12 m
Guadua paniculata 50-70 mm 8-10 m
Guadua superba 100-150 mm 20 m
Guadua weberbaueri 40-120 mm 8-20 m
Merostachys sp.
Neurolepis acuminatissima
Neurolepis aperta
Neurolepis aristata 10 mm 2-3 m
Neurolepis mollis 1.5-4.5 m
Neurolepis nobilis
Neurolepis petiolata 10-15 mm 1-2 m
Neurolepis silverstonei 4 mm 1-2 m
Neurolepis stuebelii
Otatea fimbriata
Rhipidocladum abregoensis 1-5 mm 4-8 m
Rhipidocladum angustiflorum
Rhipidocladum geminatum 20-25 mm 6-10 m
Rhipidocladum harmonicum 20-60 mm 10-20 m
Rhipidocladum longispiculatum 40-60 mm 8-15 m
Rhipidocladum parviflorum
Rhipidocladum racemiflorum 5-10 mm 10-15 m
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Colombia is one of the few countries in Latin America where bamboo plays a notable role in the local economy and traditional culture. The genera Aulonemia, Chusquea, Elytrostachys, Guadua and Rhipidocladum include several species that are used by various native and rural mestizo communities to satisfy basic necessities.

Even though only Guadua angustifolia has real economic value, Colombia has a rich culture and history regarding the processing and utilization of bamboo poles. There are population inventories as well as significant research on management, production, marketing and industrial uses for Guadua angustifolia. The impact of the rest of the species on the local economy is minimal. These are utilized only by people close to the source.

Colombia’s area of Guadua forests is estimated at 51,500 ha, of which 46,261 ha has natural forests and 5,260 ha cultivated ones. The total area of natural Guadua forest in the four central-western departments represents 44% of the national total, with 75% of the Guadua stands between 0.4 and 10 ha in size. Only 16-20% of this area has proper management.

With an average production of 1,000 culms/ha/year, the total Guadua culm production for the four central-western departments can be calculated to be 20.3 million of green culms per year, equivalent to 911,745 ton/year in green conditions (45 T-m/ha).