14 March, 2010
American Bamboo Society Logo
Promoting the Beauty and Utility of Bamboo

2010-08-22 - For those of your that are interested in Bamboo and Poems, Beverly Messenger has a new book "to bamboo! an homage..." - an anthology of poems about bamboo.
You can find out more information on her website at

2010-03-14 - Susanne Lucas forwarded a report to us about the World Bamboo Society's efforts to provide bamboo-based housing to the people of Haiti.

"March 14, 2010 - Bamboo Housing for Haiti Project - the World Bamboo Organization mobilizes!

Prior to the devastating earthquake that struck January 12, 2010, Haiti had an estimated housing deficit of 1,000,000 homes (Habitat for Humanity). As a result of the quake, at least 200,000 additional homes were severely damaged or destroyed, and 1.2 million people are homeless or displaced. At the same time an unparalleled wave of reverse migration of as many as 1 million people (Christian Science Monitor) from the capital to outlying provinces is taking place."

The WBS Web site has the complete report, including a photo of the pre-fabricated housing built mostly of Guadua bamboo.

2010-02-11 I received the following message related to the relief efforts in Haiti. David King added "The IRS just declared a special tax deduction for 2009 income tax returns for donations to Haiti relief efforts given before 1.March 2010. Visit the IRS link. You need to make sure the WBO or the organization actually doing the work is a charity listed on the IRS list (see the IRS link)."

"Dear Friends at ABS,

Jeffree Trudeau is soon heading to Haiti to help with emergency relief housing. Jeffree recently joined the team here at World Bamboo as Special Projects Director. His immediate mission is to develop emergency relief housing using bamboo for the people of Haiti. We have just received the first communication from Jeffree's team on the ground; as we all know, it is a devastating scenario and it will be difficult for some time. What we need from the community at-large is help with networking to source adequate supplies of the materials, good quality bamboo, engineering expertise, and appropriate designs for the structures.

WBO has teamed up with Generation Bambou (a French NGO based in Paris), headed by Xavier Dufrenot. The Director of Field Operations, Kasra Mofarah arrived in Port au Prince last Tuesday night. In evaluating the earthquake's damage, Kasra is determining the need for implementation of Bamboo Evolution Shelter Technology (BEST). This sustainable, economical bamboo framework creates an emergency structure that is fast to assemble and can be easily covered by any fabric like a tent, thus creating urgently needed temporary shelter. As needs evolve the structure can be moved and rebuilt, expanded, or covered in a harder material to make long-term housing, school or medical clinic.

Kasra has been meeting with the United Nations, NGOs, local authorities and bamboo producers in an effort to integrate bamboo technology into humanitarian missions. Jeffree, Kasra and Xavier are determining the best strategy to achieve the best results, studying all the logistics and launching this massive endeavor. Volunteers and donations of materials are already underway.

I am writing to you - as friends of World Bamboo - to ask you to consider a monetary donation to help fund this project for relief housing in Haiti. I have set up a specific bank account in which 100% of the funds donated will go directly towards building temporary and long-term housing for Haitian residents that have lost their homes. In June, we will publish a list of the individuals names who have benefited from the WBO Haiti project, and every 6 months for the next 2 years, we will continue to do this. We hope to expand the Haiti project to support families who own land and wish to plant bamboo as a source of income and to encourage bamboo plantation development throughout the island.

In advance, I very much appreciate you considering to donate in any amount, (US dollars$), as this is an enormous task and one that will take many months, and years, to see fully through. I promise you that your donation goes directly to the project costs, and not to the administration of WBO.

If you wish your donation to be anonymous, please let me know. Otherwise, we will be listing all Donors on our website.

Our bank details are :

Bank Name : TD Bank
Bank Address : 2 Market Crossing, Plymouth, MA 02360 USA
Bank Telephone : 508-760-8811
Routing Code: 2113-70-545
Acct Name : World Bamboo Organization
Acct Number : 8246-745-448
If you prefer not to make a bank transfer, you can send a bank check (drawn from an American bank), or within 1 week, we will have the ability to take donations from our website using PayPal.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


2010-01-25 The 2010 ABS General Meeting will be held in Savannah, GA between November 4th and 7th. The meeting site will be the Hilton DeSoto in the downtown historic district of Savannah. There will be trips to the Historic Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens and the Byron, GA area. More details will be posted here as they become available.

2009-12-28 I received this query about finding people experienced with building with bamboo just before Christmas and am just now getting around to posting the message.

Bamboo construction for Eco Resort

Stefan Furkhan is the Managing Director of Confifi Group Hotels, who are in the planning stage of developing two eco resorts in remote locations in Sri Lanka. They are interested in doing the entire design of the resort including building structures and furniture using bamboo.

They would like to hear from any of the following who have experience with bamboo structures :

Please reply to email address :

2009-10-07 This is definitely a bit odd, and probably “for amusement purposes only” but cosmetic companies are now pushing “bamboo milk” as an ingredient in their products. You may be wondering, “Which part of the plant gets milked?”. I know that was the first thing I wondered about, so “Bamboo milk is an extract obtained mainly from the leaves of Bambusa vulgaris” according to the description of Nivea Happy Time Shower Cream on the Nivea Web site.

2009-01-15 On February 24, 2009 at 8PM ET/PT, the PBS science show NOVA, presented the story Rat Attack about the periodic flowering of Melocanna bambusoides in India.

“Once every 48 years in the remote Indian state of Mizoram, a strange phenomenon takes over the land, threatening famine and death. Hundreds of thousands of acres of bamboo begin to flower and fruit, sparking a plague of rats. Drawn by the nutrient-rich pear-sized fruit, millions of hungry rats feast — their numbers growing exponentially as they descend into a reproductive frenzy. They devour crops, bringing hardship and even famine upon Mizoram’s farmers. The locals call this biological anomaly the Mautam, and when it last struck in 1959, famine killed thousands and plunged the state into a 20-year guerilla insurgency.”

M bambusoides fruit
M bambusoides and rat

(Click on either photo to enlarge, then click on your browser's back arrow to return to this page.)

“But the rats aren’t the only part of the story puzzling scientists. Bamboo itself is an enigmatic plant. Many bamboo species reproduce only once in their lifetime, then die. What’s bizarre is how long they wait before reproducing —20, 50, even 100 or more years, depending on the species. Even stranger: Many species reproduce synchronously: Like clockwork, all plants in a given geographic region flower and seed at precisely the same moment, then die.”

2009-01-11 This was very interesting. Mike Murphy, a college professor in Georgia, created a 15'x9' sculpture called "Moses" out of Phyllostachys aurea and steel wire. I think the sculpture is very impressive and, but more impressive is that there is a time-lapse movie (duration 1:18) on Youtube that shows its construction.

2009-01-11 The Oregon Bamboo Association has revised their charter to emphasize the chapter's emphasis on bamboo conservation, not just in Oregon, but around the world. Here's a PDF of their most-recent newsletter, describing the changes.

2008-11-17 This is a little strange, but a Taiwanese computer company called ASUS has shown some of its computers packaged in bamboo. It isn't clear that these models will be for sale in the U.S., but it was interesting.

2008-11-17 This is old news, actually, but PNW Chapter member Jackie Heinricher's Boo-Shoot Gardens in Mount Vernon, Washington was in the news again in an article in the Seattle Times newspaper. The article is somewhat extravagantly titled "Cracking the code to 'the perfect plant' opens a path to saving the planet".

2008-11-13 New ABS Arts and Crafts Coordinator Charissa Brock

Charissa Brock, who works and teaches out of her studio in Portland, Oregon, has been making artwork with natural materials since 1994. She discovered bamboo as an art material in 1999 while earning her MFA at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. Her work has been exhibited widely in the United States and is included in the Arizona State University Museum. American Style Magazine included an article about her in its April, 2007 issue. Charissa will be included in a traveling exhibition at the Bellevue Art Museum entitled, "Intertwined: A Selection from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection" from January to March, 2009.

Charissa was an ABS Arts and Crafts Award winner in 2002. Her appointment is effective immediately.

2008-08-21 I ought to have noted earlier this year that I was successful in germinating the seeds from my Fargesia nitida which flowered in April of 2007. It produced hundreds of seeds and I was able to germinate most that I collected. I started in the summer of 2007 by putting the seeds in a germinating tray using "Jiffy 7 Pellets" and putting the tray in a sunny window. When they were about 3" tall, I borrowed a 20-gallon aquarium from my brother and moved them into a bed of planting soil. I covered the aquarium with plexiglass and it did quite well until the dead of winter in Seattle, when I used a grow light on a timer. By March, 2008, the plants had grown to about 12" and had filled the aquarium completely. I potted up about 30 of the best-looking plants and donated them to the PNW Chapter auction in June. It was a nice experience to (finally) be successful in germinating bamboo from seed.

2008-08-21 Volume 21 (2007) of the ABS Journal is available for downloading in PDF format.

2008-07-22 The World's Smallest Bamboo Discovered! (from Pacific Horticulture, v. 69, No. 3) A French citizen working on the savannah ecology of French Guiana discovered a bamboo that is believed to be the smallest in the world. The mature flowering and fruiting plants are only two centimeters tall. The fruit and seeds are slightly less than one millimeter in length. Named after the collector, the new species is called Raddiella vanessiae. Other members of the same genus range from three to twelve inches tall. The Plant News, New Series 10 (4): 7.

2007-08-26 With the help of Bill Hollenbeck, the ABS Web site now accepts credit cards on-line for new and renewal membership fees.

2007-08-21 National Public Radio (NPR) has had three programs about bamboo in the recent past.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ought to say that my daughter-in-law (Joy Ma) is one half of the NPR Bureau in Beijing, and I'm proud of her.

2007-07-25 The Handweavers Guild of America, (HGA) wrote today to say they have "published an article about handspinning bamboo fiber. The article, written by Bonnie S. Carter, is part of the Learning Exchange program, where HGA members exchange samples of their work with others. The article appears in the Summer, 2007 issue of Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot, HGA's quarterly magazine. To learn more about HGA, Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot, and the Learning Exchange program visit HGA's Web site." Their Web site also includes links to sources of bamboo fiber for spinning.

2007-07-07 I was in a toy store today, looking for something that would amuse my granddaughter, when I came across toys made, at least in part, with bamboo. The company's name is HaPe International and they described themselves as a Swiss company based on the east coast of China. I didn't buy any of their toys as they were probably not what my granddaughter might like, but I thought they were interesting.

2007-07-05 The New York Times garden section has an article about Pacific NW Chapter member Jackie Heinricher and her wholesale bamboo nursery, Boo-Shoot Gardens. It talks about her enthusiasm for bamboo and her success with tissue-culture propagation of bamboos and gives some general information about bamboo. There's a very nice photo of Jackie as well.

2007-01-01 Richard S. George of Macon, GA noticed an article in the Los Angeles Times about bicycle-maker Craig Calfee of Santa Cruz. Calfee has been building bicycles of bamboo and has gained quite a reputation for these bikes, according to the article. There are photos on Calfee's site. These are expensive, good-looking, high-tech bicycles. Have a look. I then came across another mention of Craig Calfee in the context of producing cheap, bamboo-based bicycles for the developing world. The project is called the Bamboo Bike Project (clever, eh?) and is a collaboration with The Earth Institute at Columbia University. The project has lots of photos of the bikes on their Web pages.

2007-07-01 My Fargesia nitida has just about finished flowering and has started to die. I've collected some seeds and am going to see if I can germinate them. Stand by for more news as it develops.

2007-04-24 Well, finally! I've gotten the 2007 Species Source List converted to HTML and it's now available for browsing here. I know some of the links don't work yet, but I'll try to get it all fixed in the next week or so. The Source List is also available as a download in PDF format.

2007-04-22 Gib Cooper has had an article about Chusquias published in the March, 2007 issue of The Plantsman, the offical magazine of the Royal Horticultural Society. There are some nice photos with information about selecting appropriate varieties and propagating the bamboo.

2007-04-04 Dang, my Fargesia nitida has started to blossom in Seattle. It will be sad to loose the plant. Here's a close-up of what the blossom looks like.

Fargesia nitida

2007-03-30 Doug Lewis of Seattle's Bamboo Hardwoods fame, had a very nice write up in the Seattle Times of 3/30/2007.

2007-03-13 Gib Cooper, director of Bamboos of the Americas, has written to point out an article on the Science Daily Web site about a new species of bamboo discovered in North America. ABS member and bamboo botanist Lynn Clark and graduate student Jimmy Triplett described and named the new bamboo. There are now three species of bamboo native to the U.S. The article is a bit technical, but still interesting.

2006-09-10 If you would like to support the World Bamboo Organization, Rich Delano of, has produced some WBO logo teeshirts. The teeshirts com in small to xx-large and are $20 plus shipping. The proceeds go to support the WBO. Write to Rich to place an order and get a deal on the shipping costs. See the Events page for information about the 2007 WBO meeting.

My wife is a weaver and every once in a while she comes across a source of bamboo yarn or fiber. This time it's The Yarn Barn of Kansas catalog which offers knit-spun bamboo yarn in ten colors. For all you weavers out there the cost is $13.50 for a 3.5 oz skein of 250 yards.

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