Dendrocalamus strictus: a species report on bamboo sheets

Bamboo Species Insight: Dendrocalamus strictus

Dendrocalamus strictus has become a bamboo species of great value and importance in India’s economy.   It has served as the foundation of their paper industry in times past.  It has been India’s primary accessible source for paper pulp.  The pulp from this species is used in blending with other inferior pulps from India’s domestic botanical sources.  In terms of papermaking, this species of bamboo is inferior in some ways to other bamboo species (for example, the length of fibers) but its dominance in India’s papermaking industry can be owed to its abundance within the country and the numerous stands within reach of transportation.  Another quality that increases its value is the high drought resistance in this species of bamboo, when compared to other species.

There is a heavy tendency toward congestion in the clumps of this species.  This congestion may be due mainly to a shortness of the rhizome axis, but abounding long branches develop in the lower parts of the culms and may play a part in this as well.  The congestion in a clump makes extraction from the culms a difficult task.  Although, some strains of this species, depending on the location and other environmental surroundings, are free from the clumping tendency.

This plant species can grow up to 60 ft. tall and about 5 in. in diameter.  It may contain several branches at each culm node, and varies from growing strongly curved to straight.  It is usually pale green in color on the upper side and even paler at the bottom of the plant.

Three main growth forms have been tracked for this species.  They are very much dependent on conditions of soil, drainage conditions, and sunlight exposure.  These forms may be inherited through the seeds, but more study is needed in this area.  The three main forms which have been documented as recognizably different are:

  1. Common type-with three subdivisions
    1. The culms on this type have moderately think walls.  It is found abundant in India and produces moderate sized culms.
    2. Thin walled and hollowed culms.  It is more common to find this type on depressions with somewhat cooler climates.  These can reach a large size.
    3. The culms on this third type can be solid or nearly solid.  It is more common on ridges and in hotter climates.  These types are generally smaller.

2. Large Type

This type of bamboo is found in the forests of Bihar and Orissa.  On a small scale, they can be found elsewhere, as long as growing conditions are optimum.  The Large type has almost no side branches, and is rarely congested.  It grows to a very large size with long, straight, and smooth internodes.

3. Dwarf type

This type is a very small sized strain and only forms clumps as an exception.   It is found in the Balaghat division of the Central Province; there it is called karka.  This is the poorest strain of Dendrocalamus strictus.

It is unclear which of these types are the typical form on the species and which are variations.  However, the most majestic forms are reminiscent of the Large type, almost never forming clumps, and are free from congestion.

More species insights will be given, so stay tuned.  More bamboo information can be found at bambooblankets.net.  Bamboo fabric have been found in many products and contexts such as:

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