Friday, 12 March 2010

What's So Great About Bamboo?

Only a Westerner could ask this question because people living in Asia have known for centuries just how incredible bamboo is. So for all you bamboo novitiates here's a list of why it is worth talking and blogging about bamboo:

  • Bamboo is a grass and yet it is hard like a wood. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet. Some varieties of bamboo can grow up to 60cms (24 inches) in a single day! That means that if you had the time you could actually watch it growing.
  • Bamboo doesn't need to be planted because it has an extensive root system that puts up new shoots all the time.
  • Bamboo naturally lends itself to organic farming. Inside bamboo is a 'kun' substance that fights pathogens and pests. As a result the bamboo plant doesn't need pesticides and herbicides to flourish.
  • Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and absorbs 5 times as much carbon dioxide as an equivalent stand of trees.
  • Bamboo's extensive root system prevents top soil erosion. In Japan bamboo is planted to prevent landslides caused by heavy rains and earthquakes.
  • Bamboo was used at the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in Japan to clean the soil of radioactive elements.
  • The young shoots from bamboo can be eaten.
  • Bamboo is used in traditional medicines in China and India.
  • Bamboo can be made into paper.
  • Bamboo is an excellent construction material and material to make furniture from.
  • Bamboo forms an important part of the traditional painting and garden aesthetics of Japan and China.
  • Giant pandas will only eat bamboo.
  • Bamboo grows not only in South East Asia and East Asia but also in India, Northern Australia, the Himalayas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Argentina, Chile, Sakhalin and Europe.
  • There are 1,500 species of bamboo plant.
  • Many bamboo species only flower once every 60 or 120 years.

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