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BAMBUSA lako

Image of Bambusa lako

Forest & Kim Starr

Family

Poaceae

Botanical Name

BAMBUSA lako

Plant Common Name

Black Timber Bamboo, Clumping Bamboo, Timor Black Bamboo

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Newly emerging green shoots of the Timor black bamboo are edible, but allowing the culms to mature to a towering height proves highly ornamental. It’s native to the island of Timor, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying just north of Australia and among the isles of Indonesia. This bamboo is a very tall, clumping bamboo that produces towering, slightly leaning culms. This tree-like grass quickly grows into a loose, non-spreading clump.

All bamboos are grasses with woody-type stems called culms which are divided into sections. Timor black bamboo has wrist-wide, thick but hollow, upright culms that are initially green but then mature with brownish black to shiny black. The emerald green leaves are linear to lance-shaped and produced in pairs, many pairs are crowded on the branches. Contrast the shiny black culms of this species with that of the very similar-looking Javan or Sumatran black timber bamboo (Gigantochloa atroviolacea), which produces aerial roots and has matte-black culms.

Bamboo flowering is unusual, the flowers are similar to other grasses and the fruits grain-like, but the conditions and age of the plant for flowering is not completely understood.

Timor Black bamboo is a tropical grass that grows best in warm, moist, well-drained soil and full sun. It has limited cold hardiness and will survive mild subfreezing temperatures in winter, but sustain progressively more leaf dieback and browning with prolonged cold. The spread of this bamboo is slow, the rhizomes or underground stems grow only a short distance from the clump before sending up new culms. It isn't invasive, but will quickly become a clump of numerous culms. Use it as an accent in a tropical Southeast Asian-inspired garden or as a wind-resistant shade or screening plant in subtropical and equatorial regions.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Grass

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    50'-70' / 15.2m - 21.3m

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Chocolate, Black

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No