Gigantochloa nigrociliata

Gigantochloa nigrociliata (Büse) Kurz

Nat. Tijdschr. Ned. Ind. 27: 226 (1864).
2n = 72 (hexaploid)

Origin and geographic distribution
The origin of G. nigrociliata is not known. It grows wild in Indonesia (West Java, northern Sumatra) and in southern Thailand. Formerly it also occurred widely in East Java, Bali and eastern Indonesia where it has now become rare. For map click: Map521.TIF.

In West Java (Sukabumi) young shoots of G. nigrociliata are consumed as a cooked vegetable after being fermented in running water or river mud. In northern Sumatra the culms are used to make household utensils and basketry. In West Java culms, although not long-lasting, are applied in the construction of rafters, fences and watch houses.

Production and international trade
G. nigrociliata is only produced and traded locally in Indonesia, but no statistics are available.

Loosely tufted, sympodial bamboo. Culm up to 20 m tall, 3-6 cm in diameter, wall up to 6 mm thick, conspicuously clean and bright green; nodes not swollen; internodes up to 35(-50) cm long, bright green with dark brown hairs on upper parts. Branches arising from all nodes from 2-3 m upwards with usually one dominant branch at each node. Culm sheath triangular but with truncate apex, 11-18.5 cm long, slightly persistent, brown appressed hairy outside; blade narrowly triangular, 6-10 cm x 2-3.5 cm, erect to spreading, brown hairy at the base inside; ligule 2-3 mm long, irregularly dentate; auricles rounded, 2-4 mm long, ending in curved sheath extensions. Young shoots grey-green, bearing appressed dark brown and white hairs. Leaf blade lanceolate, 19.5-35 cm x 2.5-4.5 cm, glabrous above, hairy beneath; ligule 1-2 mm long, ciliate; auricles rim-like along the leaf sheath, up to 1 mm long, at the apex curved and joined to the ligule. Inflorescences on branches up to 80 cm long, consisting of pseudospikelet groups 1-6 cm apart each containing up to 11 pseudospikelets; spikelet ovate-lanceolate in outline, 15-22 mm x 3-4 mm, slender, flattened at the base, brown ciliate, comprising 3 perfect florets. Caryopsis ovate-lanceolate in outline, about 15 mm long, apex hairy.

Growth and development
G. nigrociliata flowers quite often, after which the clump dies. Natural regeneration is through seed which is produced abundantly.

Other botanical information
According to older literature G. nigrociliata also occurs in India and on the Andaman Islands. Most probably these records refer to other species. So far G. nigrociliata has only been found in Indonesia and Thailand.

G. nigrociliata is found in the humid tropics, usually along streams and on lower slopes, up to 600(-1400) m altitude. It grows well on latosols in areas with an average annual rainfall of more than 3000 mm.

G. nigrociliata can be propagated by seed and by rhizome or culm cuttings. Culm cuttings are mostly used, with about 85% survival. For shoot production, recommended planting distance is 4 m x 4 m, for culm production 5-6 m x 5-6 m. Weeding is necessary in the first year after planting. Application of organic and inorganic fertilizers, removal of culm remnants and regular earthing up of clumps are recommended.
No serious diseases or pests are known to damage G. nigrociliata.
Culms are usually harvested when needed, without much selection because this thin bamboo is rather uniform. Nevertheless, a selective felling system in a 3-year cycle is recommended, with only culms 3 years old or older being cut. A mature clump can produce 12-16 culms per year.
Young shoots are harvested during the rainy season, peeled and sometimes also sliced and put in running water or mud to ferment.

Genetic resources and breeding
In Indonesia, a germplasm collection of G. nigrociliata is available in Lampung (Sumatra) and in Thailand in Chiang Mai, but there are no breeding programmes.

G. nigrociliata will remain locally important for its young shoots. More research is needed to investigate the feasibility of the production of paperpulp.

E.A. Widjaja

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