Bamboo - Arundinaria gigantea
Bamboo is a perennial, flowering evergreen plant. It's a member of the grass family. There are about 5,000 species of bamboo. The name bamboo is derived from the Kannada word bambu. The English called it bamboo when the encountered it in Malaysia. Bamboo grows faster than almost any other plant on the planet. Some grow as much as 35 inches within 24 hours. The bamboo plant is found in climates ranging from freezing cold to very hot.
Bamboo plants are versatile. They can be used for food, to build fences or barriers, as decoration, as good luck charm, and much more. With more compressive strength than brick, concrete, or wood and almost as much tensile strength as steel, bamboo is a very popular building material Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America, and the Caribbean. The plant rarely grows outdoors in continental Europe.
A number of companies grow bamboo commercially to make flooring, furniture, bowls, cups, knives, spoons, chopsticks, fishing rods, musical instruments, textiles, paper, surfboards, snowboards, skateboards, and weapons. Bamboo plants are also used in Chinese and Indian medicine.
Bamboo species flower infrequently. Plants taken from the same cohort will flower at the same time even if they are moved to different geographic locations and climatic conditions. Flowering bamboos produce many seeds and bamboos are aggressive early successional plants. They quickly fill in the space vacated by their parents and spread even more.
Bamboo plants are a food source for humans, giant panda, red panda, bamboo lemurs, African mountain gorillas, elephants, chimps, and many insects. Cooked, pickled, or fermented bamboo shoots are a popular delicacy throughout Asia. Lucky bamboo used in Feng shut is actually a type of lily which grows in tropical rainforests in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Bamboo is designated as the national plant of St. Lucia. In China and Japan, bamboo is more than just a plant. It's an important part of their culture.