Flowering of a Bamboo Ampelocalamus patellaris

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H.B. Naithani1*, T.P. Sharma2& M.K. Kandwal3

1Consultant, Botany Division, Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun 2The Mountain Institute, Development Area, Gangtok, Sikkim 3Botanical Survey of India, Regional Centre, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh email: Dr. Manish K Kandwal – zoysia04@gmail.com; T.P. Sharma: tika_skm2007@yahoo.in *Corresponding author: H.B.Naithani – naithanihb@gmail.com


Ampelocalamus patellaris (Gamble) Stapleton (Dendrocalamus patellaris Gamble) a bamboo was earlier described by Gamble from a doubtful flowering specimen collected by G.Mann. This doubtful specimen was later identified as Dendrocalamus hamiltonii. The true A. patellaris recently flowered in Sikkim in December 2013. The bamboo has now been described for the first time on the basis of flowering material obtained from Sikkim. Paper provides detailed nomenclature, distribution, phenology, illustration and photographs of the species.

Keywords Bamboo, Ampelocalamus patellaris, flowering.


Dendrocalamus patellaris was described by Gamble (1896) on the basis of a collection made by him from, Sikkim. However, the floral portion that was described by him was from a doubtful collection made by G. Mann from Rangma Parbat at present situated at Gola ghat district of Assam. Stapleton (1994) transferred it in to genus Ampelocalamus Chen, Wen & Sheng and proposed the name Ampelocalamus patellaris (Gamble) Stapleton.

On the floral description and illustration of Dendrocalamus patellaris provided by Gamble (1896), Blatter (1929) stated that “It is unfortunate that figs. 2 and 4-10 of Pl. 75 have been drawn from Mann’s doubtful specimen. His was the only plant in flower at Gamble’s disposal and he could not therefore compare it with reliable material”. About this bamboo Gamble said: “The flowering specimens now received are said by G. Mann to be doubtful, as he identifies them with Dendrocalamus hamiltonii. But I find that they do not entirely agree with those of that common well-known species, for the flowering glumes and paleas are very hairy inside, the anther tip are not nearly so long, there are lodicules occasionally present, and there is a terminal free rhachilla; so that I consider I am justified in assuming that Babu Shri Gopal Benerjee did get his leaves and his flowers off the same clump, and that until further specimens come to hand, those sent by him should be considered as belonging to species”. The fact that Mann’s specimen is not D. hamiltonii does not prove that the leaves and flowers of Mann’s collection were taken from the same clump. The description and drawings of the flowers may, therefore, belong to some other species. Camus (1913) produced illustrations of floral parts copied from Gamble’s work (1896).

Blatter’s statement may be correct, because for instance a specimen collected by T. Suyal on 4th July, 1965 from Kalona, Nainital Forest Division, Uttarakhand was critically checked by one of the authors (HBN) and it was found that the culm sheaths of the specimen belonged to Dendrocalamus patellaris, while the flowers kept in a packet were found to belongs to Dendrocalamus strictus. Unfortunately after Mann’s collection this species has never been described and illustrated from flowers. Which have now been provided here for the first time.

Poudyal (2006) stated the flowering cycle of  Ampelocalamus patellaris to be 71 years. It flowered in Rangma Parbat Naga Hills, Assam in 1890 (Blatter, 1930). In Sikkim it has flowered in 1905 and 1908 and in Darjeeling in 1979 (Seethalakshmi and Muktesh Kumar, 1998). According to Stapleton (1987) its gregarious flowering occurred in the East Nepal between 1980-1982 and some of its seedlings that had regenerated had attained almost full stature by 1984. Stapleton (1994) again stated that its widespread flowering occurred in 1980 in East Nepal and Darjeeling district of West

Bengal Chimonobambusa jainiana which is now concefic to Ampelocalamus patellaris has flowered in North Bengal in 1979 (Das and Pal, 1983). Podiyal (2006) by citing the reference of Shor (1997) stated that in China it has flowered in 1992 in southwest Yunan, in 1993 in western Yunan near the Myanmar border.

In the month of December 2013 one of the authors (TPS) had observed its flowering near Pakyong, East Sikkim where about 40 clumps were in sporadic flowering.

Ampelocalamus patellaris (Gamble) Stapleton, Edinb. J. Bot. 51: 321. 1994; Naithani, Bamboos Nagaland 89. 2011. Dendrocalamus patellaris Gamble, Ann. Roy. Bot. Gard. Calcutta 7: 86. Pl. 75. 1896; Naithani, J.Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 88.141.1991. Patellocalamus patellaris (Gamble) W.T. Lin, J.S. China Agri. Univ. 10(2): 46.1989. Chimonobambusa jainiana Das & Pal, J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 4: 1023. 1983. Drepanostachyum jainiana (Das & Pal) Majumdar, Bull.Bot.Surv.India 25:235.1985. Sinarundinaria jainiana (Das & Pal) Naithani, Indian Forest. 116: 990.1990.

A handsome bamboo. Culms soft, caespitose, 7-10 m tall, 2.5-4 cm in diameter; nodes marked by projecting softly hairy ring; internodes 30-40 cm long, fistular, whitish below the nodes; wall thin. Culm sheaths long, 15-30 cm long, 7-8 cm broad, striate; margins furnished with membranous, fimbriate, pale fringe. Inflorescence a panicle, branches secund , arises at nodes with nodding spikelets. Spikelets 35-38 mm long, 5 mm wide, lanceolate, 7-8 flowered, hairy; florets well exerted from glumes. Lower florets well develop, fertile. Uppermost floret reduced in size, sterile. Lemma of upper most floret up to 5 mm long; palea 0.5 mm long, empty. Lower floret up to 11-14 mm long, fertile. Lower glume 2.5 mm long, obtuse, minutely hairy on margin. Upper glume2.5 mm long, 11 nerved, nerves prominent, minutely scabrous on margins and in between nerves, apex tip truncate on sides, Lower lemma 11-14 mm long, 11 nerved, mucronate, minutely and distantly scabrous in between and on nerves, margins densely hairy; hairs on margin 1-1.25 mm long; nerves prominently raised making longitudinal groves on surface; mucro 1-1.5 mm long, scabrous, slightly curved when seen from the sides in spikelet. Palea lanceolate, equal to or slightly shorter than lemma, 2 keeled, margins distantly scabrous, apex entire. Anthers 6, 9.5 mm long, brown; filaments 7 mm long; anthers rarely exerted from the spikelets. Ovary narrowly oblong; style bifurcate into two; lodicules 3 hyaline, up to 1 mm long.

Distibution: North Bengal and Assam (Gamble, 1896); Nagaland, Aka Hills-Arunachal Pradesh (Bor, 1940), (Naithani, 2011); Cachar, Karbi-Anglong, N.C. Hills, Assam (Barooh and Borthakur, 2003); Kumaon Hills-Uttarakhand (Naithani, 1991); Nepal (Stapleton, 1987& 1994); China (Shor, 1997).

Flowering Specimen examined: 2 km before Pakyong, East Sikkim, 15th Dec. 2013, T.P. Sharma sn (DD).

This species is commonly known as Pagjiok, Pagjiokpao, Burmyakyang (Lepcha), Nibha, Nebabans, (Nepali), Footoong (Mikir), Guso (Rengma Naga), Mao, Mau (Konyak Naga). It is used for weaving and as animal fodder. According to Holstrom (1993) it is used for making huts, flutes, straw, knife edge and arrow head.


Barooah, C. and Borthakur S.K. 2003. Diversity and distribution of bamboos in Assam Pp. 1-223, Bishen Singh, Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun.

Blatter, E. 1930. The flowering of bamboos Part I. J. Bambay Nat. Hist. Soc. 33: 899-921.

Bor, N.L. 1940. Gramineae, Fl. Assam 5:1-480 Govt., Assam.

Camus, E.G. 1913. Les Bambusees-monoghie, biologie, culture, principaux usages- 1-215-Paul Lechevalier, Paris.

Das, C.R. and Pal, D.C. 1983. A new taxon of Chimonobambusa from Eastern Himalaya- J. Econ. Tax.Bot. 4(3):1023-1024.

Gamble, J.S. 1896. The Bambuseae of British India. Ann. Roy. Bot. Gard. Calcutta 7:1-133.

Holstrom, J. 1993. Utilisation of bamboos in Sikkim Himalayas. BIC-Indian Bull. 3(1): 22-24.

Naithani, H.B. 1991. Occurrence of the bamboo Dendrocalamus patellaris in Kumaon Hills, Uttar Pradesh. J. Bombay. Nat. Hist. Soc. 88: 141.

Naithani, H.B. 2011. Bamboos of Nagaland Pp. 1-206. NEPED and NBDA, Kohima and Dimapur, Nagaland.

Poudyal, P.P. 2006. Bamboos of Sikkim (India) Bhutan and Nepal Pl. 1-277. New Hira Books Enterprises, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Seethalakshmi and Muktesh Kumar, M.S. (1998). Bamboos of India a compendium Pp. 1-342, KFRI,Peechi, India.

Shor, Betty N. 1997. Bamboo Flowering Records. Unpublished Report Pp. 32.

Stapleton, C.M.A. 1987. In Jackson, Manual of Afforestation in Nepal, 199-214. Forest Survey and Research, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Stapleton, C.M.A. 1994. Bamboos of Nepal: An illustrated Guide pp. 1-66. Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.

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