Celebrated on September 18th
Bamboo can be eaten (new shoots), made into fiber for clothing, it can be used in concrete reinforcement, in can provide great livestock feed with the foliage being up to 22% protein, it can be machined into numerous forms of lumber, etc. It might be easier to compile a list of what bamboo cannot be used for than what it is used for.
When you think of some of the strongest materials on the planet, does bamboo come to mind? If not, it should because bamboo actually has a tensile strength greater than steel. Tensile strength reflects how hard it is to pull a material apart. Not only is bamboo stronger than steel, but it withstands being smashed better than your average concrete. So, bamboo is one of the strongest materials on earth. Due to these properties, bamboo is now being used to make bicycle frames, because of its light weight and incredible strength. This also makes bamboo an ideal candidate to replace wood for many of its traditional uses in buildings. The ability of bamboo to bend but not break is what gives it this incredible property.
Bamboo can grow up to 1 meter (over 3 feet) in 24 hours. This fantastic rate of growth has been witnessed on occasion with the moso variety of bamboo that is common in China and Japan. A bamboo shoot emerges from the ground at the full diameter that it will have. It then quickly grows straight up as a bare pole for several weeks until it reaches full height. After this, secondary branches will begin growing from the nodes and these will bear leaves. New bamboo stalks must be allowed to mature for 3-5 years before the woody material is hard enough to harvest and use.