Searching for determination tools for bamboo

Hi everybody,
I’m not sure if I’m doing it the right way posting this here, but :

Could anybody point out determination ressources for bamboos (Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae) ?
I am let alone with some bamboo stands in horticultarl parks and I can’t find nobody who would have any clue about which species were planted (a situation which I believe must be not so rare ?).
I’m working in temperate oceanic climate (european France).
Any determination key or guide to the most commonly planted species would be greatly appreciated.

I’ve posted some observations here but it does’nt seem to trigger no ID hint, so I would like to try it out by myself.

Many thanks in advance.

PS : I do know about the FOC but since it uses criteria such as stamen and fruits, it’s more kind of a pure theoretical object rather than a real life practical tool.

You should start with tagging an expert on those observations, as they’re casual, they likely won’t get attention, so you need to ask people to have a look, I see @williammcfarland’s profile description states interest in bamboos.)


Until taking some field courses in Thailand, I had no idea how diverse bamboos are and no idea how hard they are to identify—possibly because they only flower once at the end of their decades-long life. I’m sure it’s extra tricky in your case, where range isn’t as helpful. Not to be a downer, but you’re setting out on quite the task; I wish you the best of luck!


Those being in a garden are likely to be cultivars, and as such are best identified by asking whoever is responsible for maintaining that garden.

Many bamboos can only be properly identified by flowers or genetics, and since bamboos have a kind of odd flowering cycle there are a lot of species that people are waiting on the flowers for to even finalize the scientific names. There also isn’t a good genetic database for bamboos either, it’s an enormous group of plants which many species found in areas lacking in detailed botanical information, in particular South America.

The larger one looks like some sort of Phyllostachys, a common Asian genus and one of the genus most commonly cultivated in large form, but without photos showing more of the plant it’s pretty much impossible to tell more than that.

There are a lot of small groundcover bamboos. The one with the white stripes is probably Plieoblastus fortuneii, a common and popular cultivar. The green and yellow one is probably Plieoblastus auricomis, also a popular cultivar. The pure green one could be one of may things, but it looks pretty similar to Plieoblastus distichus, also a common cultivar, but that’s the one I’m least confident in.

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These may be of use for Phyllostachys, the most common genus of running bamboos which are introduced in temperate areas and are often found as remnant patches in the US. They would not work for clumping bamboos."phyllostachys+aureosulcata"+"aurea"+"nigra"&pg=PA1&printsec=frontcover

You can download the 2nd one for free as a pdf

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Many thanks to all of you @fffffffff , @thomaseverest , @earthknight and @kevinfaccenda for the informations and help.

I’ll take the opportunity of this post to share other informations that I’ve discovered :
the Flora of China (FoC) general key for bamboos (the one I mentioned above and here : ) may be based on flower traits, but when looking for the genus key, they’re (mainly) based on vegetative features and are so quite usefull. Plus there are some good illustrations available, so I would definitely recommand to have a look at it (especially for the genus Phyllostachys).

Another reference which may be of some help is the (english version) of the (old) Flora of Japan by Ohwi, available on BHL :

You might check out the 1999 book American Bamboos by Emmett J. Judziewicz, Lynn G. Clark, Ximena Londoño, and Margaret J. Stern. Even after 20+ years it’s still hands-down the best reference for New World bamboo species.

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