Bamboo is one of the world’s most popular plant types. Bamboo is native to Asia and East Asia, though different types of bamboo can be found all over the world.
Preferred for its growth speed, bamboo is also strong and easy to cultivate.
Certain types of bamboo are renowned for their strength and are used for building and industry. Bamboo can be used to create anything from buildings to durable fabrics.
Other types of bamboo are grown for ornamental reasons. These are types of bamboo that are better to look at in a garden scene. Many types of bamboo can also be eaten. There are thousands of YouTube videos out there that can teach you how to cook with bamboo!
There are as many as 1,000 different bamboo types. Each has different attributes that make them ideal to cultivate, or perfect for their natural habitat.
Here are 15 different types of bamboo around the world.
Table of Contents
- Bamboo Types FAQ
- What is bamboo?
- How many different types of bamboo exist?
- Why plant bamboo?
- What does bamboo get used for?
- What can you do with bamboo?
- Is bamboo difficult to grow or maintain?
- Can bamboo really grow anywhere?
- Can bamboo be transplanted?
- What’s the best variety of bamboo to plant?
- 15 Different Types of Bamboo Around the World
- 1. Bambusa balcooa (Female bamboo)
- 2. Bambusa bambos (Giant thorny bamboo)
- 3. Bambusa blumeana (Spiny bamboo)
- 4. Bambusa tulda (Timber bamboo)
- 5. Bambusa guangxiensis (Chinese dwarf)
- 6. Bambusa polymorpha (Burmese bamboo)
- 7. Bambusa textilis (Slender bamboo)
- 8. Bambusa ventricosa (Buddha belly bamboo)
- 9. Bambusa vulgaris (Common Bamboo)
- 10. Dendrocalamus giganteus (Giant bamboo)
- 11. Dendrocalamus strictus (Male bamboo)
- 12. Gigantochloa apus (Tall bamboo)
- 13. Gigantochloa levis
- 14. Gigantochloa pseudoarundinacea
- 15. Guadua angustifolia
Bamboo Types FAQ
What is bamboo?
Bamboo is, technically, a type of grass.
Bamboo is cultivated for its strength, though some types are purely ornamental in nature and meant to add to the visual appeal of a garden more than its function.
Bamboo is evergreen, and will continue to grow well throughout the year in most environments. It doesn’t need large amounts of water and land to grow happily, but can also be adapted to grow in water (or hydroponically).
Its origins are in Asia, but most bamboo types can grow anywhere if their conditions are kept ideal.
The term “bamboo” describes different plants from the Bambusoideae family. Common bamboo is seen everywhere, but many other ones (like golden bamboo) also exist.
How many different types of bamboo exist?
It depends who you ask!
Most resources estimate that there are about 1, 000 different types of bamboo in the world. Other sources say that there might be more, up to 1, 200 different varieties.
There are more types of bamboo in the world than one article could hope to list. It would take an entire series to cover more than 1, 000 species.
If you want to plant bamboo, it is only necessary to know the most common types: know the type of bamboo that you are going to work with, and don’t worry about the 999 other varieties!
For this article, we include only the most common types of bamboo that you might find in gardens and nature throughout the world.
Why plant bamboo?
There are different reasons why you might want to plant bamboo.
Bamboo can be grown as a building material. Fast-growing and strong, it possesses some of the most important attributes of a material that will last for a long time.
The same plant can also be used to make anything from fabrics to foods.
Bamboo doesn’t always have to serve a DIY, practical use. Regular people plant bamboo, not just builders or engineers. The plant can be ornamental – that is, great to look at and fun to take care of.
What does bamboo get used for?
The different industrial uses of bamboo are vast.
Bamboo is used as a building material, but that’s not all you can do with it. It has hundreds of other applications, including artist’s charcoal and fabric.
Many bamboo types are edible.
Bamboo can even be used to make musical instruments.
What can you do with bamboo?
It depends on the type of bamboo you choose to cultivate.
Is bamboo difficult to grow or maintain?
Bamboo is no more difficult to grow or take care of than the average house plant.
Most bamboo species need light and water, but are also very adaptable to how much they will be satisfied with.
If you take proper care of your bamboo plant (and do your research), bamboo could be the perfect choice for you.
Can bamboo really grow anywhere?
Bamboo can be adapted to prefer almost any ecology. Whether you live in a warm climate or a colder one, bamboo can grow through the entire year if you take the right care of it.
That is why more than 1, 000 different types of bamboo can thrive almost anywhere in the world.
Can bamboo be transplanted?
If you would like to move a bamboo plant from one place to another, it can be done, but only when conditions are right. Careful transplantation of bamboo has to be done at the right time of year (e.g. not when they make shoots or flower).
If done right, your bamboo plant can take to its new spot almost immediately.
What’s the best variety of bamboo to plant?
The best type of bamboo for your home or office garden depends on different things. The weather (and the time you have for it) are some of the deciding factors when you choose your bamboo type. Also consider the amount of space you have – and where the bamboo will grow.
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15 Different Types of Bamboo Around the World
There are more than 1, 000 different types of bamboo in the world.
Some are used for industry, others are ornamental, and most are edible.
Always consider your environment if you intend to plant bamboo. Think of the space you have, but also the space you will need once the plant has taken growth. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant, and you have to choose the best place to put it early.
Here are 15 different types of bamboo around the world.
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1. Bambusa balcooa (Female bamboo)
Bambusa balcooa is also known as Female bamboo. This is a type of bamboo native to Northern India, though it is happy to grow in any tropical climates similar to its origins.
Like most bamboo plants, female bamboo is evergreen, strong, and grows pretty fast.
This bamboo type can be used for ornamental reasons, but is also widely popular for strong, industrial use. It’s also very common in garden throughout the world.
Female bamboo can grow up to 80 feet in length under ideal conditions.
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2. Bambusa bambos (Giant thorny bamboo)
Giant Thorny Bamboo is an evergreen, tropical type of bamboo considered native to Southern Asia.
It’s also sometimes known as Indian Thorny Bamboo, a type of clumping species that prefers naturally tropical and subtropical conditions. Giant thorny bamboo can have up to a 30 year lifespan, making it one of the largest natural types.
A fast growth-rate and incredible strength makes giant thorny bamboo common for building projects and other industries. It’s also one of the edible bamboo types: the seeds and shoots are both considered nutritious.
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3. Bambusa blumeana (Spiny bamboo)
Spiny bamboo is one of the most common types of bamboo in the world. This evergreen, clumping bamboo type is native to Indonesia and Malaysia, but can grow under any tropical or close-to tropical conditions.
Thorny bamboo is traditionally used as a building material, but it can also be applied to many other industrial uses. The local industry practically relies on a regular harvest for its economy: tools, fabric and more can be created from this very strong type of bamboo.
While it’s best known as an industrial type of bamboo, spiny bamboo is also being grown as an ornamental type more often.
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4. Bambusa tulda (Timber bamboo)
Indian timber bamboo is also known as Bengal Bamboo, and considered native to India. Timber bamboo is also a popular type of bamboo throughout the world, also found in other parts of the world like South America.
Timber bamboo is one of the best types of bamboo for industrial uses. That’s why it’s called timber bamboo! Strength and growth speed make timber bamboo great for industrial applications, but also great as an ornamental plant for your garden.
In its native environment, timber bamboo is also used for paper production.
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5. Bambusa guangxiensis (Chinese dwarf)
This type of bamboo is native to China, though grows happily in most other parts of the world. Unfortunately, it’s one of the types of bamboo that can be considered an invasive species in some parts of the United States (including the Southeast).
The Chinese dwarf bamboo is often grown as an ornamental type of bamboo, and can be grown in pots. Climates similar to its original habitat (that is, tropical to subtropical) are preferred.
It’s a lush, bulky bamboo type that makes a great household plant – if you are in a part of the world where they can be grown.
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6. Bambusa polymorpha (Burmese bamboo)
Burmese bamboo is one of the bamboo types native to Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand. It can also be found anywhere in the world where conditions are close to tropical: this type of bamboo grows just as happily in a garden and a pot.
Burmese bamboo is a clumping, evergreen bamboo variety that can grow large (and overall, can be a heavier type of bamboo). One of the most common uses for Burmese bamboo is the construction industry, though it is now more popular than ever as a type of bamboo you will find in gardens.
Myanmar has approximately 100 different types of bamboo, of which this is one of the most popular types.
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7. Bambusa textilis (Slender bamboo)
Slender bamboo is one of the most common types of bamboo in the world. While native to China, it grows happily in any gardens and pots that can keep up with a similar climate to its origins.
Slender bamboo is also sometimes known as weaver’s bamboo, called this thanks to its popular use to create fabric. Slender bamboo is one of the tallest-growing bamboo types, and can grow up to lengths of as much as 50 feet.
For a durable bamboo type that grows happily almost everywhere, consider Slender bamboo as one of your first types.
8. Bambusa ventricosa (Buddha belly bamboo)
Bambusa ventricosa is an evergreen type of bamboo native to Southern parts of China. It’s one of the most popular ornamental types of bamboo that can happily grow in a pot, but can also shoot upwards to more than 50 feet.
It’s also called Buddha belly bamboo thanks to the bulging appearance of its segments.
The unique appearance of this bamboo type has made it one of the most popular bamboo types for homes and gardens.
It grows happily near any tropical environments.
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9. Bambusa vulgaris (Common Bamboo)
Bambusa Vulgaris is the most common type of bamboo, and is also referred to as common bamboo for this reason. It’s native to Southern China and Madagascar, but has become one of the most cultivated types of bamboo almost everywhere in the world.
This is one of the most adaptable to the environment types of bamboo: they can grow in gardens and pots anywhere if their conditions are kept right.
Evergreen and clumping, common bamboo is one of the easiest bamboo types to grow.
If you are just getting to know bamboo, common bamboo is one of the best recommendations to start with. They do not need as much fuss as other types of bamboo, which is what makes them perfect as a beginning.
Sometimes, common bamboo is also called yellow bamboo thanks to its appearance.
Strong and fast-growing, common bamboo can grow anywhere.
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10. Dendrocalamus giganteus (Giant bamboo)
Giant bamboo is native to China, and more commonly known as Dragon bamboo in its native ecology. Giant bamboo is one of the largest types of bamboo if left to grow, but can also be trimmed to be ideal for the average home garden with some care.
This versatile bamboo type can grow anywhere in the world, and is considered both easy to grow and keep growing throughout the year.
Dragon bamboo is preferred for its toughness, and commonly used in industry.
As one of the largest types, a lot of care is needed to keep this bamboo type’s growth under control.
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11. Dendrocalamus strictus (Male bamboo)
Male bamboo is a type of bamboo native to India, and mostly located in Calcutta where conditions are warm and tropical. This is one of the most common types of bamboo in the area, but is also seen throughout the world as an ornamental type of bamboo for decorative flair.
Male bamboo is preferred thanks to its superior strength, which has also given rise to the alternate name Iron bamboo. Known for its solid growth, its a common sight in industry. It is also fast growing, and can achieve its full length quicker than comparative bamboo types.
If you want to grow male bamboo, any subtropical climate is great for it.
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12. Gigantochloa apus (Tall bamboo)
Tall bamboo is one of the world’s Gigantochloa species of bamboo, and native to Southeast Asia. It grows happily in any tropical or subtropical climates of the world, and can be grown in a pot or garden.
When left alone to grow, this can become one of the largest types of bamboo in the world. The name tall bamboo might be a clue!
It’s heavily used for local industry, and anything from utensils to building frames are made from tall bamboo. Evergreen, it is fast-growing and strong – all the best qualities you want in the type of bamboo you choose.
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13. Gigantochloa levis
Gigantochloa levis is an evergreen, edible bamboo type native to the Philippines. It’s one of the largest bamboo types, and care should always be taken to trim this plant down to size in a household garden or environment: while just as fast growing as common bamboo, the levis bamboo plant can grow much, much taller.
It prefers subtropical climates, though can be adapted to its environment if the gardener takes enough care.
It is used often in industry, though also ornamental. Its use has been studied as atype of compost.
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14. Gigantochloa pseudoarundinacea
The pseudoarundinacea is one of the largest types of bamboo types in the world, native to Indonesia. Within Indonesia, the plant is also sometimes known as Gombang Batu – though you will also see this variety in many other subtropical parts of the world.
It’s an edible bamboo type that loves tropical environments, and shares most of its similarities (other than its larger size) with common bamboo.
Even though it’s a large type of bamboo, just a little bit of work can keep its growth controlled enough to make it great for the garden. It can even grow inside.
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15. Guadua angustifolia
Guadua angustifolia is a bamboo variety native to South America, but also one of the world’s most popular ornamental and industrial bamboo types.
Evergreen, it’s a giant timber bamboo that is considered one of the strongest bamboo types you can grow. As a giant bamboo type, control is necessary to trim it down to length: if you don’t, growth just continues up.
This bamboo type is known as fast-growing and strong, perfect for building though more often used for ornamental reasons. It’s also one of the edible types of bamboo, and one of the only native South American bamboo types.
How big does this type of bamboo get?
The angustifolia bamboo might grow more than 80 feet in length: that’s a pretty giant type of giant bamboo.