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Indocalamus tessellatus

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  (Herbarium Catalogue)

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See description in Kew's GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora
See description in Kew's GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora

Indocalamus tessellatus (Munro) Keng f., Acta Phytotax. Sin. 6: 355. 1957.

Synonyms: Bambusa tessellata Munro, Trans. Linn. Soc. London 26(1): 110. 1868 & Gard. Chron., n.s. 7: 50. 1877.; Bambusa ragamowskii G.Wheeler nom. nud., Gard. Chron., n.s. 6: 847. 1876; Arundinaria ragamowskii Pfitzer, nom. nov., Mitt. Deutsch. Dendrol. Ges. 1902: 96. 1902.

  Missouri Botanical Garden's Tropicos Database of Names  TROPICOS

    International Plant Names Index   IPNI

   Multilingual Multiscript Plant Names Database  MMPND

 Electronic Plant Identification CentreElectronic Plant Identification Centre  KEW

Culms 1--2 m tall, 0.4--1 cm thick, pendulous; internodes 8--20 cm, not ridged, proximally glabrous, distally with light brown wooly scurf denser and darker in persistent ring below node; nodes not raised; branches 1(--2). Culm sheath longer than the internode, to 30 cm, apically narrow, to 3 mm wide, with sparse appressed antrorse setae and light wooly wax at first, external margin with dense light brown wooly hairs, internal margin glabrous and membranous; auricles absent; oral setae sparse, to 5 mm long, erect; ligule to 1 mm, truncate; blade to 5 cm, narrow, subulate, to 3 mm wide, erect, glabrous, deciduous. Leaf sheaths terete, glabrous, not pruinose, margins glabrous; ligule truncate to rounded, to 2mm, entire, glabrous, external ligule not ciliate; blade large, broad, 30--60 cm long, to 5--9 cm wide, abaxially minutely appressed-white-pubescent, and softly hairy along one side of midrib. Name from Latin tessellatus, ‘tessellate’ for the square pattern of venation on the leaf blades.

Indocalamus tessellatus spreads widely and forms rather untidy mounds, with the culms being weighed down by the very large foliage leaf blades.

Bambusa tessellata was described from unusually large tessellate bamboo leaves wrapping tea from China, with no type material preserved. Nine years later Munro (1877) considered that leaves of a rare bamboo in Europe, published without description as Bambusa ragamowski by nurseryman George Wheeler in 1876, represented his species, B. tessellata, having the same large size, tessellation and hairs. Leaves used for packaging tea were later preserved at Kew (Brown 1889), and both Munro and Brown were convinced that they were the same species as Bambusa ragamowski. Rightly or wrongly the name B. tessellata has been applied to that bamboo in cultivation ever since, with description expanded by Mitford (1896) and Bean (1914), illustration by Bean (1894), and typification by material from a flowering cultivated plant.

Wheeler (1876) explained how it was first grown as a species of Arundo, an understandable mistake at that time, and that he had obtained it from Aylmer Bourke Lambert. He recalled that Lambert had grown it: “under the name (given verbally) of Arundo Ragamowskii, so the orthography may not be quite correct”. Lambert had died in 1842 and bamboos take a few years to be established, divided, and passed on. From the name Ragamowskii I suspect that Lambert may well have obtained his plant from the collection of Count Alexei Kirillovich Razumovsky (1748–1822) at his Gorenka estate near Moscow. It was not included in the last catalogue of plants there (Fischer 1812), which did include 12 species of Arundo (as well as the description of a new genus of bamboo). Razumovsky left the estate in 1818, so it would have been acquired from China between 1812 & 1818. At that time plants could generally only be introduced from coastal port areas of E China, especially those around Canton. 

[hamadae] [latifolius] [longiauritus] [tessellatus ]