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Bamboo Glossary

aerial root - a root growing above ground level. Some bamboo species produce aerial roots at their culm and branch nodes.

auricle - the earlike flaps that extend from the upper part of a sheath on both sides of the blade.

bamboo - a subfamily of grasses called Bambusoideae.

blade - the part of the leaf that is typically flat and is dedicated to photosynthesis. On a culm leaf, the blade is very small compared to that on a sheath. On a foliage leaf the blade is very large compared to the sheath.

bud - a small, dormant protuberance on a rhizome, culm or branch which a shoot, leaf or flower may develop. Buds on rhizomes can produce a culm or other rhizomes.

clone - plants that are propogated from a single parent plant. Clone specimens are indentical to that of the original plant.

clumping - tighly grouped or clumped. Bamboos with short-necked, pachymorph rhizomes have a clumping habit.

culm - an above ground stem on a grass plant. Culm is commonly associated with bamboo. Unlike grasses, the culm is very large and woody.

culm leaf - a large, overlapping leaf that encases an emerging culm, protecting it and providing temporary support while it lignifies. The sheath portion of the culm leaf is far larger than the blade. The culm leaf is sometimes referred to as a culm sheath.

deciduous - a plant with foliage shedding or falling off during specific seasons or period of growth. Bamboo leaves may be deciduous or they may be evergreen.

fimbriae - bristly, fringelike hairs that extend from the margins of the leaf sheath, usually from the auricles.

foliage leaf - the true leaf on the ends of branches that is responsible for nearly all the bamboo's photosynthesis.

gregarious flowering - the simultaneous flowering of a given generation of bamboo.

herbaceous - not woody, having no persistent aerial parts. Almost all bamboos are woody, but some species are herbaceous.

inflorescence - a flower cluster. Inflorescences have distnctive characteristics that help define genera and taxonomy.

internode - the part of the culm between two nodes.

leaf - the primary photosythetic organ. Most, but not all leaves are photosynthetic. In the context of bamboos, the sheath and blade are the primary parts of the leaf. All bamboos have foliage leaves. Woody bamboos have culm leaves as well.

leptomorph - a type of rhizome that runs horizontally and usually stays underground. A leptomorph rhizome is long, usually hollow and thinner than the culms originating from it. A leptomorph rhizome is similar to a culm, but runs horizontally underground. From the nodes grow more rhizomes, roots, buds or shoots. Leptomorph rhizomes are associated with running bamboos.

pachymorph - a type of rhizome that grows upwards developing into a culm. At its maximum width, it is thicker than the culm growing from it. New rhizomes develop from buds on an existing rhizome. After emerging from the bud, the rhizome becomes thicker. The thinner joining section is called a neck. Usually the neck is short. As a result, the culms grow in a clumping habit.

palmate - having leaves the originate or radiate from a common point.

persistent - not deciduous, does not shed leaves.

propagule - a new plant or section of rhizome that is divided or propogated from a parent plant.

pubescent - covered with short, fine hairs.

rhizome - an underground stem. A bamboo rhizome has similar structure to that of a culm (above ground stem). Rhizome also consists of nodes and internodes. Instead of growing branches and leaves from the nodes, the rhizome grows buds, shoots and roots from the nodes.

root - part of a plant that typically grows downward into the soil, anchoring the plant. Also absorbs water and nutrients. Is not segmented like the culms and rhizomes. Bamboo roots do not have nodes, internodes or leaves.

running - an invasive rhizome root system. Running bamboos have leptomorph rhizomes that run horizontally underground.

sheath - a leaf base that tightly encircles the stem or branch.

sheath scar - an encircling mark left around the node where the sheath was once attached.

sport - a variation in habit, growth or characteristic that is noticeably different from it's parent plant. This can be caused by a genetic alteration that may be accidental, spontaneous or intentionally induced.

sulcus - a groove running the length of the internode. Caused by the developing branch bud as it elongates, carving a groove into the culm.

tesselation - a checkered pattern. Caused by crossing of veins in the leaves, creating a checkered appearance.

thorn - a sharp, stiff, woody spine that typically originates on a branch or stem.

woody - plants consisting of hard, woody fibers.