Schizostachyum lumampao

Schizostachyum lumampao (Blanco) Merrill

Amer. Journ. Bot. 3: 65 (1916).
2n = unknown

Origin and geographic distribution
S. lumampao is native to the Philippines and occurs extensively in the Provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Leyte and on the Islands of Panay and Basilan. For map click: Map299.TIF. It is cultivated occasionally.

The culms are widely used in making bamboo matting known as 'sawali', a material woven from thin strips, which is variously used in rural areas. They are also commonly used to make baskets, fences, spears, fish pens, flutes, handicrafts and for many other purposes, including constructions, plybamboo panels and paperpulp.

Production and international trade
S. lumampao is one of the economically important bamboos in the Philippines. It grows extensively in natural stands but there are no large-scale plantations. Its exploitation is generally unregulated and no economic or production statistics are available. Consumption and trade are mainly local in rural areas. In the northern Philippines a processing plant has been established to make plybamboo, utilizing natural stands.

Fibres in the culm of S. lumampao have the following average dimensions: length 2.42 mm, diameter 14 µm, lumen diameter 6 µm, wall thickness 4 µm. The density of green S. lumampao culms is 460 kg/m3. Shrinkage from green to dry (16% moisture content) is about 19% radial and 6% tangential. For green culms (moisture content 174%) the modulus of elasticity is 6120 N/mm2, modulus of rupture 35.9 N/mm2, compression strength parallel to grain 30.2 N/mm2. The chemical composition of the culm is approximately: holocellulose 60-66%, pentosans 20.5-21.5%, lignin 20.5%, ash 9.5%, silica 6.5-7.5%; the solubility in hot water is about 5%, in alcohol-benzene 1-5%, in 1% NaOH 20-30%.

Densely tufted, sympodial bamboo. Culm erect to ascending, 10-15 m tall, 4-8 cm in diameter, wall 4-5(-10) mm thick; internodes 25-50(-80) cm long, glabrous, green; nodes oblique. Branches several to numerous at the upper nodes. Culm sheath 24-26 cm long, up to 33 cm wide at the base, persistent, covered with yellowish, sharp hairs; blade lanceolate, 9 cm x 1.9 cm, reflexed, shortly pubescent on both surfaces, hairs mostly deciduous; ligule very short, minutely ciliate; auricles not distinct. Leaf blade linear-lanceolate, 30-36 cm x 2.5-3.0 cm; sheath glabrous; ligule very short, dentate, glabrous to puberulent; auricles not distinct. Flowering branches arise at the upper nodes, bearing groups of pseudospikelets at their nodes; spikelet linear-lanceolate, about 15 mm x 1.5 mm, glabrous, comprising 2 empty glumes and one fertile floret. Caryopsis oblongoid, 6-8 mm x 1-1.5 mm, brown.

Growth and development
Young shoots emerge during the rainy season and develop to their full height in 4-6 months. Culms become mature in 1-2 years; they reach their maximum diameter at 5 m height. A healthy clump produces several young shoots annually, up to about 10% of the number of mature culms. The number of culms per ha in natural stands averages about 9000, but can be as high as 25,000 in dense stands. The dry weight rate of the above ground parts of a culm is approximately 89% for the culm, 7% for the branches, 4% for the leaves. In the Philippines, flowering is from January to May, fruiting from June to July.

S. lumampao grows naturally in thickets and secondary forest at low and medium altitudes up to 1500 m. Sometimes it nearly exclusively occupies large areas (e.g. in Bataan, Zambales, Cagayan valley). It grows best on a well-drained sandy loam or clay loam found on forested hills with pH 5.0-6.5, at average temperature of 28-32ºC and annual rainfall of 1900 mm.

Propagation and planting
S. lumampao can be propagated by seed, rhizome and culm cuttings. Seed is not commonly available; it should be sown immediately in plastic bags in the nursery and transplanted after 5-6 months when seedlings are 30-60 cm tall. Rhizome cuttings (part of clump with roots, rhizome part and culm part) survive better than culm cuttings. Culm cuttings (2-node portions) can be taken from 0.5-2-year-old culms, kept in the nursery for 3-5 months and planted out in the field in the rainy season. Recommended planting distance is 3 m x 3 m.

For 2-3 years after planting, weeding is necessary about 2-3 times a year; cut weeds can be used as mulch. Until young plants are well established, watering is necessary if rainfall is insufficient. For optimum growth, especially on poor soils, the application per ha of 20-30 kg N, 10-15 kg P, 10-15 kg K, 20-30 kg Si and organic manure is recommended. The fertilizer may be applied in two portions, the first during planting, the second 4 months later. During the first 2 years, regular maintenance of the plantation is recommended. For management of natural stands, an initial moderate thinning (removing culms older than 2 years) is recommended.

Diseases and pests
No serious diseases or pests have been reported for S. lumampao. The leaves can be attacked by tip blight disease (Ascochyta sp.) and by a leaf spot (Leptostroma sp.).

In the Philippines, S. lumampao culms can best be harvested in the dry season (January-May). In a newly established plantation, harvesting may start 5 years after planting. Most harvesting, however, is done from natural stands. It is recommended to harvest only culms 3 years old or older in a 2-year-felling cycle, leaving about 40% of the standing mature culms evenly spaced in the clump.

It has been estimated that dense natural stands of S. lumampao can yield 2500 culms/ha per year, which is 15 t on a dry-weight basis. The total dry weight of an average standing crop in natural stands is estimated at 59-73 t/ha (culms 55-65 t, branches 3-5 t, leaves 1-3 t).
To produce 50 t pulp (for paper) per day, it is estimated that about a minimum of 4000 ha planted with S. lumampao is necessary; pulp yield is on average about 43% of the culm yield.

Handling after harvest
Traditionally, harvested culms are air dried in the sun or in the shade for about 1 month. Kiln drying takes about 9 days. S. lumampao is classified in the Philippines as moderately resistant to deterioration. Traditional methods are often used to preserve culms. These include soaking, curing, smoking and whitewashing. For industrial use, several chemical preservation methods are possible.

Genetic resources and breeding
Germplasm collections of S. lumampao are available in the Philippines in the botanical garden of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños and in the bambuseta of Baguio, Los Baños (Luzon) and Davao (Mindanao). There are no breeding programmes.

The prospects for S. lumampao are very promising. The reasonably durable culms are widely used and are suitable for industrial application. With a growing demand for culms, large-scale plantations should be established. Research should focus on large-scale propagation methods, cultivation methods, management of natural stands and ecological requirements.

F.D. Virtucio and V.O. Sinohin

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