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Bambusa balcooa (Dz. jhushi, Nep. dhanu bans, ban bans)                                             D23


This is a large thick-walled bamboo with strong branching and thorn-like branchlets lower down the culm. It can reach a diameter of 16cm and a height of up to 25m. It is similar to species of Dendrocalamus, having thick furry culm wax, densely hairy culm sheaths, and large branches. It is easy to recognise because of the brown hairs on the leaf sheaths and the small curving thornlike branchlets. The thorns are smaller than those of B. bambos, and there are fewer hairs inside the culm sheath blade. It can be separated from all other large bamboos in the country by the complete absence of auricles on the culm sheaths. The poles are highly valued in India. They are an important raw material which can be marketed in very large 


quantities, as scaffolding and for weaving into panels used for low cost housing. They are generally a little too large for village use, and the heavy branching makes them difficult to split by hand. They are reserved for a few uses such as making pillars and beams. This is an adaptable species, widespread across West Bengal and Assam, and it grows well from Calcutta up to around 1,600m. It tolerates drier conditions better than many bamboos, but can suffer from the bamboo blight syndrome on waterlogged sites. The large size of this species along with its thorny branchlets make it a good choice for slope stabilisation. The large branches make it easy to propagate from culm cuttings.

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