Schizostachyum blumei

Schizostachyum blumei Nees

Agrost. Bras.: 535 (blumii) (1829).
2n = unknown

Origin and geographic distribution
S. blumei is probably native in Borneo, but it also occurs in Sumatra and has been introduced into Java. For map click: Map264.TIF. It may also be cultivated occasionally.

The long slender culms of S. blumei are used for making fishing rods and traditional flutes.

Production and international trade
Production and trade of culms of S. blumei are only local and no statistics are available.

Densely tufted, sympodial bamboo. Culm erect with long pendulous, whip-like tip, 3-7 m long, 1-2 cm in diameter, wall c. 2 mm thick, light green to dark green, rough when young, becoming smooth; internodes 30-60 cm long, with appressed white hairs initially, glabrous later, below the nodes with white waxy rings; nodes not prominent. Branches many, from midculm nodes upward, more or less subequal. Culm sheath 15-20 cm x 4-5 cm, widest at base, especially when young covered with appressed fine white hairs, line with the junction of the blade more or less horizontal, 8-10 mm long; blade narrowly lanceolate, tapering, 13-15 cm x 7-8 mm, at the junction with the sheath 3-4 mm wide, erect first, later deflexed, densely hairy adaxially especially near the base, glabrescent abaxially; ligule very short, irregularly dentate, bearing short bristles; auricles about 4 mm tall and 8 mm long, bearing bristles up to 11 mm long along the edge. Young shoots light green. Leaf blade 19-39 cm x 3.5-6.5 cm, base more or less rounded, tapering, dark green, usually glabrous; sheath usually glabrous; ligule short, serrate; auricles small but prominent, 1 mm long with bristles up to 13 mm long along the edge. Inflorescence 20-35 cm long, terminating a leafy branch; spikelet 20-25 mm long, slender, comprising one perfect floret and a rachilla extension bearing one rudimentary floret. Caryopsis unknown.

Growth and development
Young shoots are produced continuously in a mature clump. At first a young shoot is erect, up to about 2 m tall, and later the upper part becomes pendulous. When leafy branches develop, the culm cannot support itself and flops over older culms. In the field a clump of S. blumei looks like a compact bush, with old culms flopping over and young shoots sticking up above the old culms.
Flowers can be found all the year round, but fruits are rare.

Other botanical information
S. blumei is easily recognized by its large leaf blades and the erect and slender young shoots with pendulous tips. S. blumei is related to S. latifolium Gamble. The clump of S. latifolium is open, its culms are erect with drooping tips and culms and leaves are light green.

S. blumei can be found in lowland forest, often along rivers and in hill dipterocarp forest up to 800 m altitude, in forest margins and in lowland wasteland along roads.

No information is available on the agronomic aspects of S. blumei. Its culms are collected from wild populations.

Genetic resources and breeding
No germplasm collections or breeding programmes of S. blumei are known to exist. Some accessions are present in the botanical garden of Bogor (Indonesia).

More research is needed on various aspects of S. blumei to be able to predict its potential fully. It is unlikely to become an economically important bamboo.

S. Dransfield

For additional information about author(s) see Contributors or Editors.