edulis - Moso - Mao Zhu in China - Second to Shoot
Moso is the largest temperate bamboo. I love it. To me moso is the most beautiful bamboo. It has dramatically large
canes and way up high are the small leaves that flutter and sway with the wind.
Moso is the most important bamboo in China. It covers 7.4 million acres and is considered a forest
resource. It is grown for bamboo shoots and timber, food and wood. Most of the manufactured
bamboo products that we buy in the United States were made from moso. The cover for my iPhone is laminated of
strips of moso bamboo. Most bamboo flooring is moso. Most bamboo plywood is moso.
Moso grows well in the Southeastern United States. I planted one plant on Vashon Island In Puget Sound,
Washington State. The plot was fertile meadow land with a gentle south east aspect. The plot was turned with an
excavator to kill the grass and voles. A truckload of curds from a Tofu factory were stirred into the ground.
The moso was well watered. It reached 2 inches in diameter in three seasons. On the other hand Wade Bennett of
Rock Ridge Farms was unsuccessful growing moso. He grows bamboos on the plateau north of Mount Rainier in
Washington State . His location was too cold. Other bamboos grew well for him, not moso. He has sold bamboo
shoots for 20 years at farmer' markets and directly to chefs at fine restaurants.
Former names are:
P. heterocycla pubescens,
P. pubescens. Japanese name is Moso-chiku.
Bamboo Species Source List - 2011 - American Bamboo Society
Max Height feet/meters 75/22.9 Max Diam inch/feet 7.0/17.8 Min Temp °F/°C
5/-15 Full Sun
Largest of the hardy bamboos. Young culms are covered with a velvety coat of soft hairs. The Most used bamboo
in China, used for food, timber, paper, plywood, flooring.
The Hairy Bamboo
Notice the open forest an
d the ground mulched with bamboo leaves. This shoot came up in the groves of Georgia Bamboo in Bonaire, Georgia.
The photograph was taken April 8, 2011.
These photos were taken by Wolfgang Eberts in Germany. I believe the moso was grown in Italy. I
think I have had these photos since the 1990's
My Research Plot in Bonaire, Georgia
A moso grove has a distinct look, different from other bamboo groves. The internodes are closer together than
most timber bamboos. The white lines at the nodes are striking. The sheath leaves at the base of the culms
remain for several years. Moso falls into the group of bamboos whose canes are largest at the base and taper
to the top. The bamboos in the other group are largest at about 4 or 5 feet and from there taper to the base and to
the top. The yellow green canes are yellowed by the sun as they abut the access road. The shaded canes are green.
No Nodal Ridge; just a sheath scar.
Most timber bamboos have a nodal ridge (a swelling) above the sheath scar. Moso and
P. viridis (and its varieties Houzeau and Robert Young) do not have this nodal
ridge. All timber bamboos have the scar where the sheath leaf attached. The sheath leaf falls off
when the internode it subtends has completed elongating. It leaves a shelf where it had been attached.
The shelf is the thickness of the sheath leaf. Moso bamboo has the leaf scar but does not have the nodal ridge.
This shelf with no nodal ridge above it is a distinguishing characteristic. Use it to identify.
The cane on the right is too young to harvest. The one on the left is probably old enough. If you harvest a
cane that is too young, its cells are largely water and the pole will crack as the water in the cells
Poles thinned from the research plots
These are the small old poles that I thinned in September 2011. The bigger straighter poles are left in the plot.
My moso plot barely shot in 2011. I hope that by removing these poles that it will shoot in 2012. The poles in the
photo are poor quality: curving and small. As time goes by and I get the plot in good shape, I will harvest large
Yellow Leaves March 28, 2011
The moso in my research plot changed its leaves in a spectacular show of yellow. Notice the yellow leaves on the
ground. Golden mulch! The tops of the moso canes lean outwards from the grove. On the right is my Houzeau
grove nicely thinned and behind the Houzeau is
Phyllostachys purpurata. I think that the
P. purpurata would be perfect to plant alongside pastures. The leaves are easy for livestock to
reach and eat. And it is prolific even in summer drought as we had here in Georgia in 2011.
UNITED STATES NATIONAL HERBARIUM
I visited in October 2011 for three days!
BAMBOOS CULTIVATED IN THE UNITED STATES
Phyllostachys pubescens Mazel ex H. de Lehaie
From the original colony under PI 80034, now about 27 Years old, at U.S Barvour Lathrop Plant Introduction
Garden, Savannah, GA
No. 21800 F.A.McClure, Collector Apr. 24, 1955
PHYLLOSTACHYS CULTIVATED edulis 15087
UNITED STATES 2806943 NATIONAL HERBARIUM
EX (LINGNAN UNIVERSITY 13338 HERBARIUM)
FLORA OF KWANGTUNG, CHINA C.C.C. No. 13280
HERBARIUM, CANTON CHRISTIOAN COLLEGE (handwriting) Phyl. pubescens + illegible
collected by FA McClure Date April 18, 1925
on a folded piece of paper
FLORA OF SOUTH CHINA
HERBARIUM CANTON CHRISTIAN COLLEGE
ROMANIZATION (Cantonese) Mau Chuck, Mo Sun Chuk
Field No 1514 Herbarium No 133380
Collector F.A. McClure
Province Kwangtung Tsing Uen (hard
Locality Pat Ka Shaan (Nam Fong
Habitat Cultivated on Steep
Height of Plant 6-8 M
Diameter, Breas Height 10 Cm
Special Notes culm sheaths dark brown with reddish brown
Economic Uses Young shoots eaten, Mature culms an important article of
Date April 18, 1925
PHYLLOSTACHYS CULTIVATED pubescens
UNITED STATES 1258759 NATIONAL HERBARIUM
F.A.M. 127 Phyllostachys sp. (?) Mau Chuk
Rhizomes seared by F.A.M. april 18, 1925, from a young Hakka farmer by the name of Wong Paak Koon who lives at
the tiny two-house settlement of Naam Fong Who in the Pen Rack Mountains. the splendid grow visit here was
flourishing on a steep northern slope. I was told by others than the owner, that a northern exposure is
considered best for this bamboo. In contrast with the policy of neglect which seems to characterize the culture
of this bamboo in most places, this grove showed signs of careful attention. Whereas no grass or weeds were
growing in the grove there seemed to be a goo supply of decaying vegetable matter such as grass, bamboo leaves,
young fir branches, etc.
The soil tested neutral to slightly acid.
This bamboo is unusual in that it begins in January to produce sprouts, also it is said that only a small
percent of the plants give rise to sprouts thus early. These sprouts are harvested as soon as their tips appear
above the ground, since on account of their slow growth the effect of the sun upon them is to make them bitter.
These sprouts are called Tung Sun. Winter sprouts, and bring a price which is commensurate with their limited
quantity and unusual season. At Tsing Yen in March these winter sprouts were bringing 25 cents local silver,
( 1 1/3 lb) whereas now, when the regular crop
is in full sway, the price was 5 cents per catty. At the present season the rate of growth of the
sprouts is much faster and they are sometimes allowed to reach a length of nearly three feet before they
are harvested for the market. During the regular season these sprouts are known as Mau Dun or Mo Sun the
latter name being a descriptive one meaning "hairy sprouts" without doubt these sprouts form the bulk of
the supply of bamboo sprouts on the market at this season. They are held in much favor among the Chinese
who prepare them in various ways without the parboiling and soaking process thru which the sprouts of so
many for the rhizome bamboo must pass before they are palatable. This is due to some principle which
causes in the mouth a sensation mildly similar to that caused by orange peel.
However, the commercial value of the canes of this bamboo, which are considered the very best of many purposes,
probably exceeds by a large margin the value of its sprouts. For carrying poles and bamboo trays
everybody gives the unhesitating opinion that Mau Chuk is best. And for chairs, stools, rakes, buckets and a
number of other articles I have need seen any other bamboo used, unless it be Man Chuk, with is evidently a
See F.A.M. 128 and 141
(Man Chuk is Phyllostachys elegans)