Bamboo Species Source List
Complete Bamboo Species Source ListIncludes Bamboo Species List, Plants and Available Bamboo Products.
Since 1981 the American Bamboo Society (ABS) has compiled an annual Source List of bamboo plants and products. The List includes more than 490 kinds (species, subspecies, varieties, and cultivars) of bamboo available in the US and Canada, and many bamboo-related products.
The ABS produces the Source List as a public service. It is published on the ABS Web site. Paper copies are sent to all ABS members and can also be ordered from ABS for $5.00 postpaid. Some ABS chapters and listed vendors also sell the Source List. Please refer to the ordering information.
The vendor sources for plants, products, and services are complied annually from information supplied by the vendors. We have tried to record all information accurately, but some error is inevitable and information may change during the life of the Source List. If you find errors, please report them to the Source List editors (). No guarantee is offered for the reliability of individual vendors, but if you feel that a listed vendor has not provided good service, you may report your concerns to the editors.
The Species Table lists bamboos in alphabetical order by botanical name. The botanical name for a species is a binomial comprised of the genus and the specific member of that genus. For example, the botanical name Phyllostachys aurea, is comprised of the genus, Phyllostachys, and a specific member of that genus, aurea. Common names are listed beneath the botanical names. For example, Phyllostachys aurea is sometimes called Golden Bamboo or Fishpole Bamboo.
A species may also have recognized variations. In descending order of significance, they are subspecies, variety, and forma. Plants of cultivated origin with recognized variation may be listed as cultivars and are also included. Since issue No. 23, the Source List has rationalized the names below species level. Cultivar names are used instead of botanical forma names, as they have almost identical rank and are more appropriate for cultivated, rather than wild plants. Only subspecies, variety, or cultivar names have been used in this list.
Several existing cultivar names are not fully in accord with requirements for naming cultivars. In the interests of nomenclature stability, conflicts such as these are overlooked to allow continued use of familiar names rather than the creation of new ones. The Source List editors reserve the right to continue recognizing widely used names that may not be fully in accord with the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) and to recognize identical cultivar names in different species of the same genus as long as the species is stated.
Many new bamboo cultivars still require naming, description, and formal publication. Growers with new cultivars should consider publishing articles in the ABS magazine, “Bamboo”. Among other requirements, keep in mind that new cultivars must satisfy three criteria: distinctiveness, uniformity, and stability. Additional information is available from the International Society for Horticultural Science in the document, “How to name a new cultivar”. The document is available on the Web at: http://www.ishs.org/sci/icraname.htm
The species table includes numerics for maximum height, maximum diameter, minimum temperature, and sunlight requirements. These numerics are not absolutes, but are intended to afford a quick, rough, relative comparison among bamboos. They are not a substitute for a deeper understanding of the cultural requirements and performance of each bamboo in the context of the cultural conditions in which it will be grown.
Maximum height and diameter: The figures cited for maximum height and diameter are only achievable in optimal growing conditions in a large grove, clump, or forest that has been established for as long as a decade or more. Bamboo grown in a pot, a small garden plot, or in less than ideal conditions will likely be substantially smaller than the stated maximums. On the other hand, the stated maximums are not intended to indicate world records, but an approximate of the largest culms of mature plants grown in favorable conditions.
Minimum temperature: The minimum temperature is the point at which leaf damage begins to appear after a short exposure to the temperature. Culm and rhizome death generally occur at much lower temperatures. However, many variable conditions affect minimum temperature tolerance, including wind, humidity, soil moisture, snow cover, plant maturity, plant health, protection by structures, trees, and other plants, and duration and frequency of low temperatures. A plant may tolerate the minimum temperature for a night or two, but may not tolerate weeks at a temperature five degrees warmer. Drying winds and the absence of snow cover might kill an immature plant outright, whereas a sheltered more established plant might be entirely unscathed. The cold hardiness of a new introduction is only a best estimate, and revisions are made as more information becomes available. Minimum temperatures in the table are only relative approximations. The Source List editors and the ABS are not responsible for any damage or loss arising from the data provided.
Sunlight: Sunlight requirements are listed on a scale from 1 to 5. A rating of 1 indicates full shade and a 5 indicates full sun. Ratings 2 through 4 are intermediate progressions along the scale. Most bamboos can grow successfully in a broad range of conditions, though the greatest vigor will occur in a narrower range. The numeric ratings for sunlight are only relative approximations. For example, a Phyllostachys that generally thrives in full sun in the Northeast may prefer some shading in the intense arid summers of the Southwest. Conversely, a Sasa that generally requires mostly shady conditions in the Southeast may thrive in full sun in the coastal Pacific Northwest. Keep in mind that other conditions are also significant factors. For example, even if a Fargesia is provided with ideal semi-shaded conditions, it may not thrive if air temperature and soil are too hot.
Plant sources: The “Sources” column contains a link to the vendors of each plant. The search page to find sources based on location is at: Sources Some of the sources in foreign countries carry plants, but cannot legally ship them to the United States.
Products and services: The search page to find sources of bamboo products is at: Products
Descriptions for some vendors may indicate ‘Visits by appointment.’ Many growers and product and service providers are part-time or small business operations without a store or sales staff. If you arrive without an appointment, you may find no one available. To make an appointment, phone or e-mail the vendor in advance. Many vendors also offer plants or products for ordering by mail, phone, or the Internet. “Wholesale only” vendors serve only retailers or landscapers and do not offer retail service.
Starting in 2010 the search capabilities from BambooWeb has been incorporated into the ABS website. It makes it easy to search for combinations of characteristics (height, diameter, sun tolerance, clumping or running and minimum temperature). You can also search for sources and products.
The following are synonyms that often cause confusion. The former name may be entirely incorrect in the case of misidentification; it may have been in an inappropriate genus; or it may be a name that was not in accord with requirements for taxonomic nomenclature.