This member of the grass family is one of the largest species of bamboo, attaining heights of up to 25 m in the wild. It is native to Asia but, like many species of bamboo, its distribution around the world has been greatly changed by human intervention. In some cases, clearing of land for agriculture has meant the total destruction of natural habitats of bamboo.
Giant bamboo is extremely versatile and has earned such names as: 'friend of the people' in China and 'wood of the poor' in India. It is valued for house construction because it is relatively straight, strong and easy to work. Mature stems are used extensively for paper-making and new shoots may be eaten.
Some bamboos are among the fastest growing plants in the world. One Japanese species has been recorded as growing over 1m in a day.
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You can see a giant bamboo in the Palm House
Search Kew's electronic Plant Information Centre for scientific information about Gigantochloa verticillata