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Bamboo – how to identify bamboo and use for food, weapons, tools, shelters, and more

Bamboo clump

About the Bamboo plant

There are several varieties of bamboo including Bambusa, Dendrocalamus, Phyllostachys.

BambooEdible bamboos are woody grasses that grow up to 15 meters (50 feet) tall. The leaves are glasslike and the stems are the familiar bamboos used in furniture and fishing poles.

Where to find Bamboo plants in the wild

Look for bamboo in warm, moist regions in open or jungle country, in lowland, or on mountains. Bamboo is native to the Far East (temperate and tropical zones) but has been widely planted around the world.

Bamboo flowersEdible parts of Bamboo plants

The young shoots of almost all species are edible raw or cooked. Raw shoots have a slightly bitter taste that is removed by boiling. To prepare, remove the tough protective sheath that is coated with tawny or red hairs. The seed grain of the flowering bamboo is also edible. Boil the seeds like rice or pulverize them, mix with water, and make into cakes.

Bamboo clumOther uses for Bamboo plants

Use mature bamboo to build structures or to make containers, ladles, spoons, and various other cooking utensils. Also, bamboo is used to make tools and weapons. You can make a strong bow by splitting the bamboo and putting several pieces together.  Bamboo is naturally suited to blow guns too.

Note: Green bamboo may explode in a fire. Green bamboo has an internal membrane you must remove before using it as a food or water container.

Bamboo plant picture identification guide

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