New book: Bamboo by Susanne Lucas

Yep, I did it.  I wrote a book.  It took me about 3 years in between all the other things that take up life, and I hope it is an interesting read for you.  Here is the some info about it:

Series: Reaktion Books – Botanical

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (December 15, 2013)
  • Distributed in the USA by University of Chicago Press (  Telephone 800-621-2736
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780232012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780232010
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • 107 illustrations, 95 in color
  • List price: $27

Summary:   Bamboo has an unparalleled history; it is very old, and at the same time very new. Bamboo extends far beyond the boundaries of most plants – it is distributed widely throughout the world, and is utilized by hundreds of millions of people in a great number of ways. Through its myriad uses as food, clothing, paper and shelter, bamboo has met the physical and spiritual requirements of humanity since the earliest times. It is believed that the first books were written on bamboo, and there is evidence that it was used by humans more than 5,000 years ago for the framework of housing as well as musical instruments. It also occurs in the creation beliefs of cultures across the globe.

Bamboo plays a vital role in the survival of many animals and ecosystems as well as having unique characteristics, offering potential solutions to modern ecological dilemmas – it grows extremely quickly, for example, making it an easily renewable resource. With the advent of modern research and technologies, the use of bamboo has increased dramatically, elevating its importance to human society – it can be found in the filaments of light bulbs, the skins of airplanes and the reinforcements of concrete. Bamboo is even a new material for today’s modern bicycles. This book draws on a vast array of sources to build a complete picture of bamboo in both history and our modern world.

Contents:  Introduction, Chapter One: Distribution, Diversity and Classification, Chapter Two: Horticulture, Chapter Three: The Hand of Man, Chapter Four: Modern Potentials, Today and Tomorrow, Chapter Five: The Environment.  Timeline. Appendix I Tribes and Subtribes of Bamboo. Appendix II Bamboo Gardens and Arboreta. References. Further Reading. Associations and Websites. 107 illustrations, 95 in color.

Susanne Lucas is Executive Director of the World Bamboo Organization and a horticulturist, designer, landscape gardener and consultant based in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  For more info on Susanne, please see here:
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Celebrate World Bamboo Day on Cape Cod with NEC members!

Join us on Saturday, September 21, 2013 in Cotuit Village (Cape Cod, Massachusetts) for a scenic 5K Walk/Run in celebration of World Bamboo Day! Many thanks to our generous sponsors, which include bamboo businesses from across the United States and Canada. Some of the sponsoring organizations include Woo Bamboo, Cariloha, EverBamboo, Bamboo Leaf Tea, Bambooee, Bum Boosa Bamboo Products, Boo Bamboo, Bambooki, Bamboosa Clothing, Water the Bamboo and Bamboo Ontario. Food for the event is generously donated by Panera Bread of Mashpee. The first 125 pre-registered participants will receive a bamboo gift bag full of unique and interesting bamboo products from these sponsors, such as bamboo tooth brushes, bamboo soap, bamboo tea, bamboo socks, bamboo cosmetics, and bamboo wet wipes. There will be items raffled off such as bamboo massages by En Route Spa, bamboo SUP board guided tours by Peace Love SUP, and gift certificates by online bamboo merchant

On the morning of the race please arrive by 8:15AM at the Cotuit Federated Church located at 40 School Street, Cotuit, MA 02635. On street parking and parking at the Cotuit Post Office will be available.

The race will begin at 9AM!

Entry Fee $27.50

For more info and to REGISTER, go to

Even if you don’t want to run or walk, come help man our table or help out along the route!    Thanks!


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NEC ABS Bamboo Open House June 15 Amenia, NY

June 15th  Saturday

9am to 6pm

Come join us for a bamboo work party!

Learn thinning and harvesting techniques. Control strategies. 

Large collection of both running and clumping cold-hardy bamboos

Help rejuvenate overgrown groves.
(Bring your own tools)

Chapter meeting, Bamboo auction, Cook out!

BRING YOUR OWN FOOD & DRINK – we will have a grill going, so bring something to share. Bring a cooler w/ ice please.

East West Bamboo Farm and Garden

14 Yellow City Road, Amenia, NY 12501

     RSVP Larry 845-373-9020

Larry Holland in the garden

Larry Holland in the garden

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CCE to Host Bamboo and Bonsai Programs

Posted by Danielle De Souza (Editor), May 23, 2013 at 02:03 pm

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE) announced that it will host bamboo and bonsai programs at the Horticulture Center at East Meadow Farms at 832 Merrick Ave. in June.

Bamboo Basics: “Incorporating Bamboo into Northeastern Landscapes,” will be  presented by Professor Michael Veracka, chairperson of ornamental horticulture at SUNY Farmingdale State College. The event will take place on June 13 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will cost $5 for CCE members and $10 for non-members

The “Create Your Own Bonsai For Beginners Workshop,” will include Award winning Bonsai expert and instructor John Capobianco. He will teach fundamental techniques for turning ordinary nursery stock into a bonsai specimen. This workshop will focus on proper plant selection, branch and root pruning, wiring, and potting. The event will take place on June 15 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It will cost $85 for CCE members and $95 for non-members. Registration is required by June 13.

For more info:

Michael Veracka
Chairman, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Ornamental Horticulture
Farmingdale State College
2350 Broadhollow Rd.
Farmingdale, NY 11735
(631) 420-2113
Fax: (631) 420-2766

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NEC Work Party at East West Bamboo Farm, Amenia NY

Saturday, JUNE 15

For all you long-time bamboo friends, this is the beautiful garden and nursery created by one of our club’s founding members – Dolores Holland.   Her son, Anthony Poveromo, has  come to live here and has developed a passion following in his mother’s footsteps!  Dolores’ husband Larry generously shared space for Anthony’s new house!


For those new to this story, come enjoy a gorgeous setting of bamboo groves among specimen trees and islands of interesting plants, connected by lawn paths leading to all kinds of interesting views.   From the top of the hill, the surrounding rural setting is just beautiful.

So, please join us on Saturday, June 15 for a fun-filled, educational day among the bamboo.  Some of these groves are almost 20 years old, and are pretty darn impressive considering Amenia is up the Hudson River in Dutchess County, NY, zone 5.   Several different forms of Phyllostachys and a nice collection of clumping bamboos (Fargesia) populate this seven-acre property.  Anthony will take us through the garden, and we’ll identify key features and talk about containment (control), general maintenance, and past experiences.

Bring a cooler with food & snacks & drinks to share!  Bring digging tools and saws & loppers if you want to help with some “hands-on” work.  If you help, you can take home a bamboo!   This is a retail nursery, (i.e. Anthony SELLS bamboo), so there will be a great opportunity to SHOP and BUY BAMBOO too : )

See the Facebook page:

And the NEC has its own group page too.  See here:

Just so we know how many people to expect, or if you have questions or directions etc, please email Larry :  <>

ADDRESS:  15 Yellow City Road, Amenia NY

Link to Google map:





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Bamboo Conference on Long Island, October 19, 2012

Bamboo – Every Plant Has Its Rightful Place

Friday October 19, 2012   8am – 4pm

Little Theater, Roosevelt Hall

Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale, NY

Sponsored by the Department of Ornamental Horticulture, Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association (LINLA), the Northeast Chapter of the American Bamboo Society, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County

Many “running” bamboo species spread into unwanted areas, often resulting in disputes between property owners.  At least eight Long Island municipalities have banned the planting of bamboo, and other communities are proposing bans. This is unfortunate, costly and not necessary.

Contrary to popular belief, bamboo is not truly classified as an invasive plant, and there are many clumping species that stay right where you want them. In this all day conference nationally and regionally recognized horticulturists, designers, growers and bamboo proponents will separate fact from fiction.

The conference will conclude with an examination of legislation that has been enacted and or proposed within Long Island communities that indiscriminately bans all bamboo from being planted.

Legislators who have proposed or written laws banning bamboo will be invited to discuss their point of view within a panel discussion composed of other conference participants.

Landscape Architects are eligible to receive 5 Continuing Education Credits by attending the full day program. NY State CNLP’s can receive 5 Continuing Education Credits. ISA Certification credits are available for attendees.

Schedule of Events

8:00am – 8:30am: Registration and coffee

8:30-8:45am    Opening Remarks and Greeting –Michael Veracka, Chairman & Asst. Professor, Dept. of Ornamental Horticulture, Farmingdale State College

8:45:-9:15am   The Amazing World of Bamboo: a Global Perspective of Bamboo– Michael Veracka

9:15-10:15am  Bamboo Basics –Not All Bamboo is Alike: a Close Examination of the Properties of Bamboo (running and clumping) and Their Cultural Requirements – Susanne Lucas, Executive Director, World Bamboo Organization ( ) and Northeast Chapter Director, American Bamboo Society (

10:15-11:15am  Designing with Bamboo: Selecting Useful Species for Landscapes and Control Strategies – Susanne Lucas, Horticulturist (

11:15am – 12:15 pm  Incorporating Bamboo into Northeastern Landscapes – Designers’ Case Studies: Bamboo – The Good, the Bad, the Ugly – Stephen Morrell,  Director of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck NY; principal of Contemplative Landscapes, Chester, CT


12:15-1:00pm Lunch break; books and plants for sale

1:00-2:00pm   My Neighbor’s Bamboo Has Escaped: an Examination of Sane and Sound Strategies for Controlling or Removing Unwanted Bamboo — Mike Johnson, Summer Hill Nursery, Madison, CT

2:00- 3:00pm  Incorporating Bamboo into Northeastern Landscapes – Designers’ Case Studies             Matthew Urbanski, landscape architect, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc

3:00-3:15pm   break

3:15- 4:00pm  Banning All Bamboo:  An update on Legislation Within Long Island Communities. At least eight Long Island municipalities have banned the planting of bamboo, and other communities are proposing bans. Panel discussion featuring Long Island legislators, growers and educators.

4:00pm            Concluding remarks

Registration fees are the following:  Adults: $65.00 (includes lunch); $50.00 without lunch.  Students (presenting valid ID): $40.00 (includes lunch); $25.00 without lunch.

For more information about the conference call: Michael Veracka (631) 420-2113 or email

Talk Descriptions

The Amazing World of Bamboo

Natural, durable, abundant, and, bamboo is the most popular plant on the planet. Whether it’s birds using it for their nests or builders seeking it out for green construction projects, the hardy plant proves to be one of the most versatile and enduring plants. Farmingdale State College Ornamental Horticulture Chairperson Michael Veracka reveals just why bamboo is the plant of choice for so many around the world, where you can find it in many popular products on the shelves today, and how city dwellers in even the most urban environments can grow and incorporate bamboo in their homes.

Speaker background: Michael Veracka is an Assistant professor and Chairman of the Department of Ornamental Horticulture at Farmingdale State College. Michael is a frequent lecturer and writer on a wide variety of design and horticultural topics. His teaching interests and design practice focus on sustainable design, edible landscaping and the adaptive reuse of urban spaces.

Bamboo Basics

Bamboo is a group of very diverse plants, including evergreen perennials in the Poaceae family, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae.  There are more than 70 genera divided into about 1,450 species.  Bamboos are found in diverse climates from cold mountains to hot tropical regions.  Although most people have a place in mind as to where they want to plant bamboo, one should consider many factors to properly site bamboo.   This talk will examine the properties of running and clumping bamboo and their cultural requirements.

Speaker background: Professionally and mentally, Susanne Lucas’ days are filled with bamboo. She manages 3 separate companies, in which one she is a horticultural consultant and landscape designer, in another she steers and promotes a commercial line of in-vitro bamboo clones for the U.S. nursery industry (, and last, but not least, Susanne is the CEO of the World Bamboo Organization.

Designing with Bamboo: Selecting Useful Species for Landscapes and Control Strategies

Bamboo plants vary in height from 2” to 100’.  In landscape settings bamboo can be used as a ground cover, as an edging, hedge or screen plant, as a solitary specimen or utilized in groves.  Bamboo genera have varying cultural requirements, some requiring control strategies.  In this talk we will uncover useful cold-hardy species suitable for the Northeast for different landscape situations.

Bamboo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

For more than a century the exotic beauty, graceful form, and unique growth habit of bamboo has seduced western gardeners. In Asia it is considered the most useful plant known to man, finding expression in art, poetry, architecture, and an endless array of utilitarian objects. The varied forms, growth rates, and mysterious flowering cycles have confounded botanists for years. This in turn has contributed to misinformation regarding the proper siting and maintenance of bamboo in the home garden. This presentation will examine the design considerations, cultural requirements, and the realities of maintaining bamboo in the landscape, based on nearly forty years of growing bamboo in the northeast.

Speaker background: Since 1982 Stephen has been Director of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck NY. As principal of Contemplative Landscapes, Chester, CT, Stephen has designed Japanese inspired gardens for both private clients and as public gardens in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. His public projects include gardens for a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Rye, NY, Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, NY, Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and most recently Connecticut College in New London, CT.

My Neighbor’s Bamboo Has Escaped: and Examination of Sane and Sound Strategies for Controlling or Removing Unwanted Bamboo

The reality is that many running bamboos spread into unwanted areas.  Contrary to popular belief, bamboo is not truly classified as an invasive plant. In this presentation we will uncover how running bamboos spread into unwanted areas and describe proven strategies for removing, controlling or containing bamboo.

Speaker background: Mike Johnson started Summer Hill Nursery, Madison, CT in 1957. Mike was one of the first nurserymen in New England to start growing landscape plants in containers. Today Summer Hill grows a wide variety of flowering shrubs and trees, Japanese maples, and many rare and unusual varieties of plant material, including native plants, and “hard to grow” varieties that are uncommon in the trade. Mike has extensive experience working with bamboo and currently grows fifty two varieties of hardy bamboo.

Incorporating Bamboo into Northeastern Landscapes – Designers’ Case Studies

Speaker background: Matthew Urbanski, is a landscape architect at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. He has planned and designed landscapes in the United States, Canada, and France, including waterfronts, parks, college campuses, sculpture gardens, and private gardens. Matthew lectures frequently on the expanding role of landscape architecture in urban design and the emerging recognition of parks as the engines of the livable city.

Banning all Bamboo: An update on Legislation within Long Island Communities

At least eight Long Island municipalities have banned the planting of bamboo, and other communities are proposing bans.  Panel discussion featuring Long Island legislators, growers and educators. 


As sponsor and host for this conference, the Department of Ornamental Horticulture feels strongly that every land use decision we make will have a positive or negative effect on the land in our care. Throughout the college’s one hundred year history, the department has always promoted sound green policies. With its recent development of a sustainable garden within Farmingdale State College’s renowned 4-acre Teaching Gardens, the Department of Ornamental Horticulture offers an opportunity to foster greater awareness and understanding of a truly green movement among its students, who will serve as future industry leaders. This new outdoor classroom continues the department’s long tradition of utilizing practical, hands-on experience to complement and enhance traditional academic programming.


Generations of talented students and dedicated faculty have developed and maintained the Teaching Gardens since the 1930’s as a model for successful landscape design and horticultural practices. The gardens are separated into a series of theme areas, or “garden rooms,” which feature a diversity of design styles and planting schemes in a relatively small area.

Said project creator and chairman of the Ornamental Horticulture Department Michael Veracka, “The Sustainable Garden will ensure that students have access to progressive ideas and strategies that will influence Long Island’s large horticulture and landscape design sector to ensure that industry practices respect the environment of this heavily populated area.  It can also influence how the average citizen utilizes dwindling resources in a finite world and promote sound environmental stewardship within the region.”

Sustainable practices introduced within our Teaching Gardens will serve as a model for how-to conceive, implement and maintain a green landscape on sites with or without buildings. This garden will prepare students to enter the contemporary work force where knowledge and skills of sustainable practices are increasingly desired and workers receive well-compensated income. It also will serve as a model for existing green industry practitioners and the general public.

The Teaching Gardens are conveniently located adjacent to the Smith Street entrance on the Farmingdale State College campus.

Co-Sponsors of the Conference include:

The American Bamboo Society (ABS)

The American Bamboo Society (ABS) was formed in 1979 and currently has over 700 members living throughout the U.S. and in 37 other countries. The ABS issues a bimonthly magazine, BAMBOO, and the Journal of the American Bamboo Society. The ABS sponsors lectures, conferences, tours and plant sales in the chapter areas. Chapters maintain bamboo libraries, distribute publications and donate plants to public gardens. Since 1980, the ABS has successfully introduced many new species of bamboo to the U.S. The ABS is a member of the World Bamboo Organization, an association of bamboo societies throughout the world, which sponsors an international bamboo conference every four years. The American Bamboo Society’s mission includes:

1. To provide a source of information on the identification, propagation, utilization, culture and appreciation of bamboos. To disseminate and store this information, the Society maintains a library of references and publishes a Journal and a Magazine.

2. To promote the utilization of a group of desirable species by development of stocks of plants for distribution to botanical gardens and introduction to the general public.

3. To preserve and increase the number of bamboo species in the United States.

4. To plant and maintain bamboo gardens to display the characteristic beauty of mature plants and to provide plant material for research in the taxonomy, propagation and culture of as large a number of species as possible.

5. To support bamboo research in the field and to establish whatever facilities are deemed necessary to carry out the research projects approved by the Directors.

Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association (LINLA)

LINLA is a professional trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of Long Island’s nursery and landscape industries by providing its members with access to education, science and research. As a part of the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association (NYSNLA), LINLA offers professional training and accreditation through the statewide Certified Nursery Landscape Professional (CNLP) licensing program, which represents the highest level of professionalism and horticultural knowledge. The group works to support the common interests of its members, promotes the skills of those in the industry, encourages sound business practices and exerts leadership in the development of sustainable communities. LINLA recognizes outstanding Industry leaders through its annual Environmental Enhancement Awards and Man of the Year Award. By providing a robust Grants & Scholarships program, LINLA endeavors to seed the industry by supporting the next generation of professionals.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE-NC) is an educational not-for-profit association serving Nassau County residents since 1914. Staff and volunteers provide programs and research-based information on horticulture, IPM, environmental issues, food and nutrition, consumer issues, parenting, 4-H youth development and outdoor educational camping programs that build resilient communities. Volunteers help bring programs into Nassau communities.



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Bamboo available – come and DIG IT

I have what is now a small stand of Phyllostachys vivax ‘Aureocaulis’, eight 9 foot culms, in our field.
However, I have decided not to let it go or to dig up a barrier for it.
So, …do you know anyone who would be interested in coming and digging it up?
I am not in a rush if I know someone is interested.  I bought the first plant from you I think 3 or 4 years ago, and it (as is usual for bamboo) took a few years to get going.  Last year it starting to look neat.  I suspect that there will be twice the culms this spring.  It is in a great place to have a nice big stand and I can just picture it,…but you can not have everything, or do everything….
Contact Ned Newton.  His email is :
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Our new membership postcard

Many thanks to NEC member Ariel Dubov, of New York City, for creating a new membership postcard to help promote the Northeast Chapter!    We have lived a few years now without a membership brochure (ABS  has not replaced the old one) and it was decided at our June 2011 meeting that indeed, we need something!   So, if any of you would like to get a bunch of these to help spread the word, just contact us and we’ll send you some.

Back copy:

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Non-Invasive, Cold-Hardy Clumping Bamboos/ The genus : Fargesia

From Nursery Management Pro magazine / September 2011 issue / Regional Specialist column

It is amazing to me still that few people know the genus Fargesia. There are few plants that can rival the merits of this woody grass: fast-growing, cold-tolerant, evergreen, shade-tolerant, deer-resistant. A perfect under-story screening, the leafy stems sway in the slightest breeze and bend but don’t break under snow cover. I need to first tell you that I am just way-tired of all the bamboo horror stories of bamboos invading suburban yards. The general misconception of such bad behavior needs to be re-directed to the negligent homeowners.  These so-called “invasive” bamboos are LEPTOMORPH: having monopodial running rhizomes like many kinds of turf grass. These bamboos can spread vigorously and definitely need to be managed. All species of Phyllostachys, Sasa, Shibataea, Pseudosasa and Pleioblastus are RUNNING bamboos. (Unfortunately these are the bamboos most of the general public know and are afraid of!)


The Fargesia are bamboos which are PACHYMORPH: having sympodial clumping roots like the ornamental grass, Panicum.  These bamboos enlarge slowly, forming a dense clump. The only genus of cold-hardy bamboos is Fargesia. [ Nomenclature note: taxonomists are struggling with a sub-section of Fargesia, so you may see some listed as the genus Borinda.  However, Borinda are much less cold-hardy than Fargesia. ]


So, Fargesia are perennial woody evergreen grasses. They evolved primarily as under-story plants in the mountain forests of China, living under pines on slopes and along streams. Neighbors include the well-known garden plants of rhododendron and hydrangea, and mahonia.


Until recently, there were only a couple of species of Fargesia available to the American garden, imported over a hundred years ago from wild-collected plants originating from China.  Within the species, F. nitida, multiple clones were in cultivation, showing varying forms and diversity.  However within the past 5 years, most of these clones have begun flowering, which in the case of this species, is monocarpic, resulting in death of the plant. Needless to say, this is not a desired phenomenon in the garden landscape. Resulting from these mass flowerings, new genotypes arise.  Very few have made it to the trade, as field-testing and selection takes many years.


For many decades, only one other Fargesia was available for home gardeners. Fargesia murieliae, which was the original collection of E.H. Wilson.  Only one genotype was in cultivation, and all specimens flowered and died in the 1990s.  Resulting from this flowering are many un-named seedlings, and they vary widely in their characteristics.


Other types of Fargesia that have been cultivated over the past 10 years in the U.S. include the following forms.  These are great additions to the palette of woody plants – not to be confused with ornamental grasses, since these are indeed evergreen, permanent additions which mix well with traditional plants like rhododendron and hemlock as understory screen plants or single specimens.


Fargesia denudata

This species is not well-known, yet it has the most beautiful arching habit and tolerates not only the frozen winters but heat and humidity.  It was first introduced by UK plant guru Roy Lancaster, coming from northern Sichuan and southern Gansu, China.  It can reach a height of 15 feet, but normally some like 10 ft. under average conditions.  USDA cold hardiness zone 5-9.


Fargesia robusta ‘Pingwu’ Green Screen™


This clone has been cultivated as Fargesia robusta ‘Pingwu’ in Europe for over a decade.  It is very upright, with persistent culm sheaths that add spring interest and texture. A clumping bamboo perfect for use as a hedge or screening plant, it has the great benefit of its non-invasive root system and robust size.  This exciting new bamboo holds up well in the heat and humidity of the Southeastern U. S., unlike other Fargesia types. The maximum height is 18 ft. and USDA cold hardiness zone 6-9.


Fargesia rufa ‘Oprins Selection’ Green Panda™


This selection was cultivated as Fargesia ‘Rufa’ in Europe for several years. Oprins Plant NV received a new plant introduction award at Boskoop in Holland for this form in 2003.  Subsequently, it was introduced into the U.S. in 2003 as Green Panda™.  This clumping, non-invasive bamboo is extremely cold hardy and heat tolerant, and has enormous potential in landscapes across North America and Canada.  It grows into a large clump (6-8 ft wide) with arching stems.  The maximum height is 10 ft. maximum and culm diameter is 0.5 inches. USDA hardiness zone 5-9. Originally from Gansu, China, it is a favorite food of the giant panda. Remarkably, this form grows well in shade as well as full sun.  It can grow in a wide variety of environments, from Atlanta to Boston to Chicago to Portland, Oregon.


Fargesia scabrida ‘Oprins Selection’ Asian Wonder™


A new introduction originating also from China, this clumping bamboo has an interesting overall character of  very narrow leaves and a graceful appearance. Stems show great color, with orange culm sheaths and steely-blue new culms (stems). Culms mature to olive green.  Maximum height is approximately 16 ft. USDA zone 5-8. This bamboo prefers sun to partial shade.

Propagation of temperate bamboos can be accomplished by traditional vegetative division, by seed (when available), or via micro propagation or “in vitro” tissue culture. Traditional vegetation is the most simple and the most widely used method, however it is both labor sensitive and time-sensitive, as the plants are quite vulnerable to stress during their active shooting periods. Seed propagation is rare due to the irregular and/or infrequent flowering cycles of most bamboos.


In vitro micro-propagation of bamboo is by far the best method for mass-production, although the technique is very difficult, with very specific protocols for each species and form.  Micro-propagation can be done from seeds or from meristematic tissue, and from type species or selected clones. Micro-propagation (tissue culture) is simply taking a small piece of a plant and multiplying more plants from that small piece.


It takes about 9 months from initiation of the meristematic tissue to a rooted plug, and approximately and additional 3-6 months from a rooted plug into a gallon-size pot for a saleable plant capable of withstanding installation into the landscape. Best time to plant in the landscape is spring.


The genus Fargesia contains wonderful types and forms of non-invasive bamboo that can enhance landscapes across many temperate zones, adding unique texture and year-round appeal as a vigorous evergreen with versatility and function. Let’s look outside the box at the potential of these well-behaved bamboos in our landscapes, and consider Fargesia as a different kind of evergreen for hedges, for screens, or simply as an elegant specimen.

Susanne Lucas, Horticulturist

Pioneer Plants, LLC.

9 Bloody Pond Road, Plymouth, MA 02360 USA



Pachymorph root system – see how compact?


Fargesia denudata





Please click on the article link for more images…………….






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Winter 2010 – a commentary

Printed in the May 2011 issue of BAMBOO

(ABS magazine)

by Susanne Lucas  /

It is amazing what a little time can bring.  I just took a stroll around to take a look at my bamboos, as Betty had asked me to give a report on the past winter.  Today, there are gorgeous new shoots of Bashania fargesii, Fargesia robusta, and all kinds of Sasa.  But it was not so long ago it was winter, and we had lots of snow, and strolling was not possible.  Snow-shoeing, or trudging, or simply glimpsing from inside the house was my only recourse to visit with my bamboos.


On December 26 we got a great Nor’easter storm which resulted in easily a foot of snow. And we didn’t see the ground again for probably something like 8 weeks, at least. Subsequent snows accumulated and temperatures stayed cold (never going above freezing for at least a month), so the bamboos had lots of insulation.  Many of them were also lying on ground, and many of them were broken, as large drifts of snow hung up on the pine branches above and then those branches came crashing down, busting most anything woody below.  This happens often with the Phyllostachys vivax forms; but other species with thicker walls seem to somehow “bounce” back once the snow melts.


There is something kind of fun with the Fargesia when we get so much snow.  They collapse in a heap, but rarely break, and then, when no one is watching, they rise gently back up.


Our lowest temperature for the winter was about 4 degrees F, which is nothing unusual here.  And as I mentioned, we went many weeks without a day above freezing, so I think it was a rather normal winter here in the milder side of zone 6, coastal southeastern Massachusetts.  What was not so typical was the wonderful snow mulch that provided a respite much like down blanket to the bamboos, which helped keep moisture in and roots undamaged.


During the months of January – April, we can burn brush here, so that is what I relish doing each winter with all the broken bamboo bits that cannot be salvaged as poles, and with the groundcover bamboos that I clear-cut each April before shoots appear.  I love burning.  Very primal, very satisfying and very helpful in keeping my huge compost pile from filling with silica-laden bamboo leaves that take a century to break down.


Take a look at the pictures and you will see how it all looked in January here.  Maybe Betty will ask me how my bamboos fared over the summer and I can send nice green lush images for you to compare.  Rest-assured, the bamboos all did survived very well.  I probably have something like 60-70 different forms in the ground here on just about one acre…..and nothing died, nothing suffered much burn – only bends and breaks.   One plant I am so pleased with after about 5 years in the ground here:  Fargesia scabrida.

Yes, it is lovely with its mature dark olive green stems, coming along after gun-metal blue bloom is revealed behind orange-colored culm sheaths. Its leaves are long and held almost horizontally, and are thick and tolerant of the winter cold.  It is a clumper, but makes a very wide clump, with new shoots coming out quite far from the center of the clump and securing some real-estate in which to mature.  My largest clump is about 8 ft tall now and easily 4 feet wide.  We live in a white pine grove, so the overhead evergreen canopy gives a great amount of protection from winter sun, and wind is rarely a problem;

I think this is why scabrida is so happy in my garden (along with our sandy-loam well-draining soils).


I’d say my other pleasure of bamboo winter success here is with Phyllostachys parvifolia.

It has reached a height of 35 ft and 2.5 inches in diameter = easily my largest bamboo, and very resistant to winter cold, staying completely beautifully evergreen and holding up against snow loads.


Thank the bamboo gods for 4 seasons in New England; with each one we find a reason to celebrate the next!

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