Today’s guest: Bamboo

Sofia: Hi, I’m Sofia Ceiba, and on this episode of Talking to Plants we are going to meet some bamboo. 

We’re in China now talking to Lou Bamboo, or at least we are supposed to be, but I don’t see Lou anywhere. Maybe she is running late.

(Lou Bamboo pops up out of the ground as a bamboo shoot.)

Lou: Hi Sofia! I’m not late! I was here all along! We bamboo can reproduce ourselves by sprouting from a rhizome, a special kind of underground stem. Right now, I’m a rhizome! We can create a lot of individuals from a rhizome. I’ll demonstrate that now!

Lou 2 (a new shoot of Lou Bamboo pops up): Howdy!

Lou Too (a second new shoot pops up):  Nǐ hǎo! [Hello in Mandarin]

Sofia: Wow, I’m impressed with how fast you bamboo shoots can spread from a rhizome! Can you grow fast too?

Lou: Can we grow fast?! Watch this! 

Sofia: WOW!  How did you do that?

Lou: I’ll admit that I used special effects to grow a bit faster there than I would in real life, but some species of bamboo can grow up to 3 feet (900 mm) in just 24 hours! We bamboos are the fastest growing plant species on Earth. Not only that, but some of us can grow to 90 feet (30 meters) tall!

Sofia: That is impressive! Are bamboos a kind of tree?

Lou: Nope!

Lou 2: Not even close!

Lou Too:  Bamboo is a type of grass!

Sofia: I would have never guessed that! Where do bamboo live?

Lou: There are bamboo species native to every continent except for Europe and Antarctica, but people have introduced us all over the world. 

People make all kinds of things out of bamboo – buildings, clothes, food … you name it, we can probably do it! There are over a thousand kinds of us bamboo, and we can create entire forest ecosystems.

Sofia: Thank you for talking with us about the amazing things that bamboo can do today. That brings us to the end of another episode of Talking to Plants.

Lou: It was a pleasure talking to you!

Lou 2: Thanks for having us!

Lou Too: Take care!