black bamboo

Phyllostachys nigra
Grass
Alternate
Simple
Inconspicuous
Green

A loosely clumping bamboo with blackish or purplish-black coloured mature stems growing 3-7 m tall. These stems (1-4 cm thick) the stems are grooved above where the side branches emerge. It spreads rapidly via creeping underground stems which produce upright stems from their joints. Its elongated leaf blades (6-12 cm long and 9-15 mm wide) have very narrow stalk-like bases. It rarely if ever produces flowers or seeds.

Common names 
Also known as: black bamboo, bamboo, timber bamboo,
Family 
Poaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Rarely
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Native to southern China.
Notifiable 
No
Council declaration 
Class R – Reduce populations
Known distribution 

This species is naturalised in some parts of eastern Australia (i.e. occasionally in the coastal districts of central New South Wales and sparingly in south-eastern Queensland). Also naturalised in eastern USA (i.e. Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia), La Réunion, New Zealand and Hawaii.

Habitat 

An occasional weed of riparian vegetation, disturbed sires, waste areas, roadsides, gardens and urban bushland in sub-tropical and warmer temperate environments.

Habit 

An upright (i.e. erect) bamboo with stems growing 3-7 m tall. Plants spread rapidly forming loose clumps via creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) that produce upright stems (i.e. canes) from their joints (i.e. nodes).

Impact and control methods 

Black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) is regarded as an environmental weed in New South Wales.

Stem and leaves 

The upright stems (i.e. erect canes) are greenish when young but turn blackish or purplish-black in colour as they age. These stems (usually 1-4 cm thick) are banded with horizontal rings at the joints (i.e. nodes) and are grooved lengthwise (i.e. longitudinally) between the joints (i.e. the internodes). The leaves are alternately arranged, but clustered on short shoots which grow from the branches. They have a sheath surrounding the stem and the base of the leaf blade is very narrow, and stalk-like in appearance (i.e. pseudo-petiolate). The leaf sheaths are mostly hairless (i.e. glabrous), except near their margins. Where the leaf sheath meets the leaf blade there is a tiny membranous structure topped with hairs (i.e. the ligule is a ciliate membrane). The leaf blades (6-12 cm long and 9-15 mm wide) are oblong or elongated (i.e. lanceolate) in shape, have entire margins, and are mostly hairless (i.e. glabrous).

Flowers and fruits 

Flowers and seeds are very rarely, if ever, produced and so are not described here.

Reproduction and dispersal 

This plant mainly reproduces vegetatively via suckers from its elongated creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes).It spreads laterally from deliberate garden plantings into nearby bushland areas and its creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) may also be dispersed in soil and dumped garden waste.

Similar species 

Black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra ) is very similar to madake (Phyllostachys bambusoides) and bolden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea), and relatively similar to giant reed (Arundo donax). These species can be distinguished by the following differences: black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) has blackish or purplish-black coloured mature stems that are usually 1-4 cm thick. These stems have a distinctive groove running lengthwise from above where the side branches are produced. Its relatively small leaf blades (up to 12 cm long) have a short stalk-like (i.e. pseudo-petiolate) constriction at their base and sometimes a few bristles (i.e. setae) are present near the top of the leaf sheath. Flowers are very rarely produced.madake (Phyllostachys bambusoides) has greenish or yellowish coloured mature stems that are usually 6-20 cm thick. These stems have a distinctive groove running lengthwise from above where the side branches are produced. Its relatively small leaf blades (up to 10 cm long) have a short stalk-like (i.e. pseudo-petiolate) constriction at their base and several black bristles (i.e. setae) are present near the top of the leaf sheath. Flowers are very rarely produced.golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) has greenish-yellow or golden coloured mature stems that are usually 2-3 cm thick. These stems have a distinctive groove running lengthwise from above where the side branches are produced. Its relatively small leaf blades (up to 15 cm long) have a short stalk-like (i.e. pseudo-petiolate) constriction at their base and sometimes a few bristles (i.e. setae) are present near the top of the leaf sheath. Flowers are very rarely produced.giant reed (Arundo donax) has greenish coloured stems that are up to 4 cm thick. These stems are rounded and do not have any lengthwise grooves. Its very large leaves (up to 80 cm long) are not constricted at the base of the leaf blade. Flowers are regularly borne in very large, feathery, whitish coloured open panicles at the tops of the stems (i.e. culms).