Out of the 22 genera occurring in India, 19 are native and then 3 are exotic. Out of the 136 species there are a few that are commercially significant. Below are the few significant species of bamboo found in India-
It is also known as Bhaluka in Assam, Balku bans in West Bengal and Wamnah in Meghalaya. The Bambusa balcooa occurs at a height of 600m. It prefers a heavily textured soil. This bamboo can be found mostly in West Bengal and the north east region of India. It has a 30m tall, dark green culm.
Uses- The most common use of the bambusa balcooa is in the construction of houses. It is also used for scaffolding and in ladders.
The bambusa nutans grows at an altitude of 500 to 1500m. It grows best on moist hill slopes. It prefers a well drained loamy soil. It is also known as Mallo, Malla, Mukia and Badia bansa. It can be commonly found in north eastern regions, Orissa and even Bengal. The culm of this bamboo is smooth, loosely clumped and has a height upto 20m.
Uses- The bambusa nutans is commonly used in house construction and craft activities including the art of basketry.
Also known as Jama betwa, Narangi bans and Bari, this bamboo can be found the North East and other regions like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura. The bambusa polymorpha likes a deep, fertile and well drained soil or a riverine alluvial soil. The culm can be either light green or greyish green. Some are even white grey. The culm is also 25m tall.
Uses- The bambusa polymorpha has many uses. It has an edible shoot which is consumed as a vegetable. It is also used in the making of handicrafts, house construction and for pulping.
This bamboo can be found in the natural forests in Central India and the North East. It generally prefers moist soil and is an open clump type species. The culms are generally lemon yellow or bright green stripes. It has a smooth and shiny texture and is 20m tall. The bambusa vulgaris is also known as basini bans and bakal.
Uses- The bambusa vulgaris is used in paper-making and in the production of decorative items and handicrafts. It is also used in the manufacturing of many products like hunting or fishing apparatus, domestic or personal items, lightening and fuel. Inflammatory conditions are also treated by the bamboo extracts.
The bambusa arundinacea is also known as bambusa bambos. It grows at an altitude of 2100m and can be found in moist parts of India. They can grow up to a height of 40 metres and have linear leaves. The culms are dense and purplish green when young but later turn golden yellow.
Uses-The leaves are used for many medicinal purposes. They are sweet, astringent and help dealing with constipation. The leaves are also emmenagogue. The resin obtained from the bambusa bambos is known to exert a favourable effect on the action of heart. It is also an aphrodisiac and has haemostatic applications.
The bambusa multiplex is an evergreen bamboo. The flowers of this bamboo are hermaphrodite. It is grown in a well drained and moist soil. The stem of the bambusa multiplex can be used as an edible item.
Uses- The culms of the bambusa multiplex help in making paper. The canes are very flexible and are hence used in mats and baskets.
The bambusa nana is a very beautiful screening bamboo. It has a soft and fern like foliage. The bambusa nana is popularly used as an ornamental plant due to its attractive foliage. The average height attained by the bambusa nana is 8 metres.
Uses- The shoots of the bambusa nana are used as an edible and have a very sweet taste.
Bambusa tulda is also known as the Indian timber bamboo and the Bengal bamboo. It is considered to be one of the most species of bamboo. It is generally found at altitudes of 1500m.
Uses- The shoots of the bambusa tulda are edible but bitter. This species of bamboo is often used as a wind break. The culms are often used in construction, furniture, mats and handicrafts among several other things.
The dendrocalamus brandisii can be found in Manipur and Karnataka. It has an ashy grey culm which has a smooth texture and is 20m tall. This species is generally found in the tropical forests and has arrow shaped leaves.
Uses- Building furniture, basketry, handicrafts etc.
The dendrocalamus hamiltonii is known by several names in different regions of India. it is known as Kako in Assam, Pecha in West Bengal, Unep in Manipur, Pao in Sikkim and Phulrua in Mizoram. It can be found in semi evergreen forests and prefers a fine textured soil. It is found in large numbers in the north eastern part of the country and the Himalayan region. It has a dark green, 30m tall culm.
Uses- Used in construction of different materials and also consumed as an edible shoot.
This bamboo is also popularly known as the giant bamboo or the dragon bamboo. The dendrocalamus giganteus is known to be the tallest bamboo species in the world. The culms of this bamboo are about 25-35m tall. It is generally found at an altitude of 1200m. This bamboo has one large dominant branch and other clustered branches.
Uses- It is used in construction and in paper making as well. The young shoots of this bamboo are used as vegetable products. The culms furniture, vases, buckets, matting, boards, rural housing and water pipes.
The dendrocalamus strictus, also known as the male bamboo or Calcutta bamboo is native to Southeast Asia. The culms are 8-20 m tall and are hollow in humid conditions but become solid in dry conditions. The culms are blue-green when younger but turn yellow after maturing. They are generally found in semi-dry and dry deciduous forests.
Uses- They are used for a variety of purposes, mainly including construction of musical instruments, furniture, rafts, mats, baskets and household utensils.
The gigantochloa atroviolacea is popularly known as the Java black bamboo or the Tropical black bamboo. The culms are generally 8-12m tall and turn purplish black when they mature. The leaves of the gigantochloa atroviolacea are lance shaped. The purplish black color of the culms is more prominent when the bamboo is grown in dry regions.
Uses- It is very useful in the construction of traditional musical instruments and furniture. It is also used as a decorative item.
Grown extensively in the North eastern part of the country. It is known by many names like Mautak, Tarai, Muli and Watrai. The melocanna bambusoides grows really well on low hills.
Uses- The melocanna bambusoides is considered to be a very important source in the production of paper. It is also used in construction of several things and also building of houses.
Also known as Wadroo and Dullooa in parts of Assam and Meghalaya. It is found at an altitude of 1200m and is extensively present in the north eastern region of the country. The culm of this bamboo does not have a fixed size, although it is smaller as compared to other species. The culm is about 6-9m tall.
Uses- The schizostachyum dullooa is used in the production of several things, for instance, mats and baskets. It also used in the making of small boxes which can be further used for various purposes.
This specie of bamboo was introduced into Tripura and is locally known as kanak kai. The culm of this bamboo is solid in texture and has a height of 7m. It has several uses.
Uses- It is used in the manufacturing of many products like fishing rods, pole vault poles and many more. The shoots of thyrsostachys oliveri are edible. This bamboo has sports related applications due to its solid texture, flexibility and other mechanical properties.