As bamboo is the food of choice for the beloved panda, I thought it would be appropriate to look at bamboo in a little more detail.

Bamboos are a woody perennial plant in the true grass family or poaceae. There are about 1,000 species of bamboo and they’re found in diverse climates from cold mountains to hot tropical areas.

Bamboo is technically a grass but many of the large bamboo look similar to trees and are sometimes called bamboo trees. The tropical bamboo (dendrocalamus asper) is the fastest growing planet on the planet. It can grow up to 1.2m in just 24 hours.

Interestingly the largest bamboo can reach 30 meters in height and 30 cm in diameter. The smallest ones have slight stems and are no more than 10 cm tall.

Bamboo usually grow at low elevations. Lots of species grow in mountain forests- perfect for pandas. The woody bamboo (technical name tribe bambuseae) have at least 1000 species. They make up the bulk of the bamboo group.

Bamboo has been around for a very long time. Being a primitive grass, it is thought that they have bene around for millions of years. It has been around long before humans and may well outlive us all. The bamboo can survive conditions from extreme drought to 6m of rain.

Bamboo has an important job in protecting the earth. It binds topsoil when there is instability or where land is eroding.

France has a bamboo attraction called the Bambouseraie. It is a very well run bamboo centre dedicated to the plant. The centre features a bamboo forest, a Laotian village, a dragon valley and a bonsai garden, amongst other attractions. I have visited the Bambouseraie several times and highly recommend it. It is a lovely day out for bamboo enthusiast and for families alike.

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