63 Species

Distribution Map

Phyllostachys comes from 'phyllon', meaning leaf, and 'stachys', meaning spike. In China, where this bamboo grows native, it is also called Gangzhu Shu, meaning firm bamboo genus.

Phyllostachys belongs to the tribe Arundinarieae, which are temperate woody bamboos. Culms usually have a tendency to zigzag from node to node and are distinguished by a pronounced groove in the culm above each branch-bearing node. Because of this groove (called sulcus) it is one of the most easily identifiable genera of bamboo. The branches open from top to bottom, generally in sub-equal pairs at each node, with a smaller branch between. In general, the culm sheaths fall off quickly.

The Phyllostachys genus include many resistant species with excellent mechanical properties of importance to human economy. In China, this genus is the principal source of paper pulp, major source for construction and handicrafts, and an important source for edible shoots.

Phyllostachys is a temperate bamboo but also grows in semi-tropical climates, therefore it is widely cultivated around the world. Most of the species require full sun and spread aggressively (runners).

Did You Know?

The Chinese Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) was first introduced in Alabama, USA in 1882. That same year, Thomas Edison began his first light-bulb factory using carbonized bamboo filaments.

There are 76 species and approximately 140 varieties and cultivars of Phyllostachys. Most species are frost resistant, and do not show severe damage at the min. temperature values indicated.


Common Names for Phyllostachys Species

Bamboo growers and garden books frequently refer to bamboos by their 'common names'. Below you'll find a table with the most common names for Phyllostachys and their correct scientific names.

More common names in English can be found here: Common Bamboo Names.

Common Name

Botanical Name

Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra
Golden Bamboo Phyllostachys aurea
Golden Golden Bamboo Phyllostachys aurea 'Holochrysa'
Japanese Timber Bamboo Phyllostachys bambusoides
Madake Bamboo Phyllostachys bambusoides
Moso Bamboo Phyllostachys edulis
Stone Bamboo Phyllostachys angusta & P. nuda
Sweetshoot Bamboo Phyllostachys dulcis
Tortoise Shell Bamboo Phyllostachys edulis 'Heterocycla'
Water Bamboo Phyllostachys heteroclada
Yellow Groove Bamboo Phyllostachys aureosulcata