Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)

P. bambusoides aurea. Bambusa aurea. Sinarundinaria aurea.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Golden Bamboo
Phyllostachys aurea

The canes make excellent plant supports and are also used for making items such as umbrella handles, walking sticks, fan handles and pipe stems[25, 162, 195]. The canes are very hard but super-flexible[195].

A fibre from the stems is used for making paper[189]. The stems are harvested at any time of the year and crushed with a hammer. They are then cooked for 2 hours or more with lye and beaten in a ball mill for 4 hours. The fibre makes a yellow/gold to cream paper[189].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Young shoots – cooked[61, 105, 177]. They can also be eaten raw and have very little bitterness[183]. They are said to be the sweetest of the genus[25]. The canes are about 15mm in diameter[K]. The shoots are harvested in the spring when about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level.

    Seed – raw or cooked. The seed is only produced at intervals of several years, it can be eaten in all the ways that rice s used and can also be ground into a flour and used as a cereal[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – surface sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse at about 20¡c. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination usually takes place fairly quickly so long as the seed is of good quality, though it can take 3 – 6 months. Grow on in a lightly shaded place in the greenhouse until large enough to plant out. Seed is rarely available. Division in spring as new growth commences. Divisions from the open ground do not transplant well, so will need careful treatment and nurturing under cover in pots until at least late spring[238]. Division is best carried out in wet weather and small divisions will establish better than large clumps[238]. Another report says that you can take large divisions from established clumps and transfer them straight to their permanent positions, misting or drenching them frequently until they are established[200]. Basal cane cuttings in spring.
Requires a rich damp soil in a sheltered position[200]. Dislikes prolonged exposure to hard frosts[200]. Established plants are drought resistant[74]. A very hardy bamboo, it succeeds in most parts of Britain[25] but suffers leaf and culm damage at temperatures below about -15¡c. Plants only flower at intervals of many years. When they do come into flower most of the plants energies are directed into producing seed and consequently the plant is severely weakened. They sometimes die after flowering, but if left alone they will usually recover though they will look very poorly for a few years. If fed with artificial NPK fertilizers at this time the plants are more likely to die[122]. Although called the ‘ Golden Bamboo’, the leaves of this plant only turn golden if plants are grown in full sun[195], especially if the plants are half-starved. This species is considered by some botanists to be a part of P. bambusoides[25]. Cultivated for its edible shoots in China[25, 162], it has the sweetest taste of the genus[25]. It has been widely planted as an ornamental in the Mediterranean and seems to be naturalizing there[50]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. The rootstock is running[25], but not aggressively so, the plant forming fairly tight clumps[195]. New shoots are produced from late May[25]. This is a good companion species to grow in a woodland because the plants have shallow root systems that do not compete with deep tree roots[195].
E. Asia – S.E. China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.