Plants spreading widely and forming dense thickets. Culms to 1.5-2 m tall, to 1.5 cm in diam., pluricaespitose, suberect to nodding; internodes terete, smooth, glossy with no wax below nodes, often purple-spotted when exposed; nodes with thin dark sheath scar; supranodal ridge absent, branches 3-4 at first, erect, precocious, basal internodes long. Culm sheaths thin, persistent, convexly attenuating to narrow apex, glabrous, margins glabrous; auricles absent; oral setae 2-5, prominent, to 1.5 cm, spreading widely; ligule arcuate, to 1 mm deep; blade small, lanceolate, deciduous, reflexed. Leaf sheaths persistent, glabrous, becoming red-purple above, margins membranous, ciliate; ligule obliquely truncate, c. 0.5 mm, glabrous, entire or serrulate; auricles small, oval or tall and oblong, or absent; oral setae 2-5, 3-8 mm, stout, erect, basally scabrous, variously basally merged into or arising from the auricle; blade to 12 cm long, to 12 mm wide, adaxially slightly glossy, distally sparsely long-pilose, abaxially matt, uniformly minutely scabrous; petiole glabrous.
A very hardy spreading bamboo, found up to higher altitudes than any other bamboo at the eastern end of the Himalayas, from E Nepal into Arunachal Pradesh and SE Tibet. Originally a forest understorey plant, but now often forming a short, dense sward in grazed alpine meadows after deforestation.
Single, initially very upright, smooth culms from spreading rhizomes, with straight, spreading culm sheath oral setae, which together with the narrow blade are rather reminiscent of a plume moth. The smooth culms and leptomorph rather than pachymorph rhizomes distinguish this from Yushania species. The prominent culm sheath oral setae hopefully separate it clearly from S. faberi from W China.
Very rare in western cultivation.
Introduced to Holland as CHB02.B1 from unknown location.