Flowering Records

Historical Flowering Records

(Please note it has not always been possible to retain the original formatting)

The Bamboo Society Newsletter No. 1 Spring/Summer 1989

In a large and once glorious garden near Penryn, close to Falmouth in Cornwall, there is a large (4m. X 4m.) clump of
bamboo which is just starting its second season of flowering. The first year’s flowering only seems to have affected about 5% of the whole clump, and this year some 10% of the culms are affected. Never having seen the species before, I have very little clue as to what it may be, and perusal of available literature gave little indication of the plant’s identity. The one feature of the clump which really stands out, apart from its great beauty, is the striking colour of the emerging anthers which are nearly solid black.
David Crampton is zooming down to Cornwall at top speed to investigate, at the time of going to press, and anyone joining the June Bamboo Tour will have an opportunity to inspect the clump and opine. Samples have been sent to Kew for inspection, but at the time of collection (Easter) the flowers were only just beginning to emerge, and new material must be sent in June, when the flowers will be much better developed.

One of the few, or is it the only? Phyllostachys in flower so far this year is Ph. bambusoides ‘Geniculata’, which you will find referred to as ‘Slender Crookstem’ if you use McClure as your reference. There is a 50 litre container of this plant in Lincolnshire with 12 culms about ten feet tall, completely covered in flower. There is not a single leaf-bearing branch on the plant. Quite an impressive sight, though one worries for the future of the clump. Efforts are being made to ensure pollination, and as the plant is under a polytunnel there may be a good chance of some seed ripening. Fingers crossed.

There is a report in the American Bamboo Society newsletter, Vol X, No.2 (April 1989) from Michail O’Brien in Los Angeles, USA, of this form in full flower. He writes: “Presently, it is flowering like there is no tomorrow, with every branch carrying dozens of inflorescences. Defoliation was especially severe this winter (An extra cold one in the western US); it has lost almost all its
“normal” leaves, retaining only the stunted leaves that surround the emerging inflorescence. Currently, it is a plant of great beauty, with a very Japanese effect.

He also reports that Phyllostachys elegans is in flower, but after reading the saga of mistreatment and neglect that the plant suffered at his hands, it is maybe no surprise. that his elegans has decided on this kamikaze plea for attention.

Steve Renvoise of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, reports that Thamnocalamus spathaceus (Sinarundinaria murielae) is increasing its flower production this year. Julian Campbell noticed one culm in flower in 1988, and now it seems to be spreading.
This species has not yet flowered in cultivation since its introduction to the U.K in 1913, except for a diminutive clone which flowered (in Denmark) earlier this decade. It will be interesting to follow this story as it unfolds, as what we all know and love as murielae must be one of the most widely cultivated bamboos in Europe, after Pseudosasa japonica. And we all know what has been happening to japonica for the last nine years or so.

Chimonobambusa marmorea continues to put out occasional flowering shoots, though most of the clumps which have flowered over the past four years or so seem to be settling down to their old hegemonist habits.

A clump of Semiarundinaria fastuosa at Penrose, in Cornwall, is in flower this year, with only two culms in a group of forty so being affected. This often seems to be the habit of fastuosa. The rest of the clump seems unaffected. There are several clumps of fastuosa in the grounds nearby, which one could surmise as having come form the same clonal source, that show no sign of flower at all.
Perhaps readers might like to comment on this species shy flowering habits, or indeed any other.

The Bamboo Society (E.B.S. Great Britain) Newsletter no.15 February 1992



A. (Pleioblastus) chino Stream Cottage, Pulbrough, Sussex MB
A. (Pleioblastus) chino forma angustifolia Wadebridge, Cornwall MB
A. gigantea Pencarrow; Wadebridge, Cornwall MB
A. gigantea subsp. tecta Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey MB
A. (Pleioblastus) graminea Bicton, Devon; Menabilly, Cornwall MB
A. (Pleioblastus) pygmaea var. disticha Pitt White, Uplyme, Devon MB
A. (Pleioblastus) simonii Wadebridge, Cornwall MB
A. (Pleioblastus) simonii forma variegata Wadebridge, Cornwall MB
Chimonobambusa marmorea Wadebridge, Cornwall; Pitt White, Uplyme, Devon MB
Pseudosasa japonica Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey SR
Semiarundinaria fastuosa Nansidwell, Mawnan Smith, Cornwall MB
Sinarundinaria (Arundinaria) anceps Nansidwell, Mawnan Smith, Cornwall MB
S. (Drepanostachyum) falcata Bosloe, Mawnan Smith, Cornwall MB
Sasa kurilensis Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey SR
Sasa palmata Hillier Arboretum, Hampshire MB
Sasa (Sasaella) ramosa Menabilly, Cornwall MB
Thamnocalamus spathaceus (Sinarundinaria murieliae) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey SR
T. spathiflorus Enys, Cornwall MB


Arundinaria (Pleioblastus) chino forma angustifolia Wadebridge, Cornwall MB
A. (Pleioblastus) chino ‘Murakamianus’ Drysdale Nurseries, Hampshire MB
A. (Pleioblastus) fortunei Burncoose, Cornwall MB
A. gigantea Wadebridge, Cornwall MB
A. (Pleioblastus) pygmaea var disticha Pitt White, Uplyme, Devon MB
A. (Pleioblastus) simonii f. variegata Wadebridge, Cornwall MB
Chimonobambusa marmorea Pitt White, Uplyme, Devon MB
Phyllostachys nigra var. henonis Lanarth, Cornwall MB
Pseudosasa japonica Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey SR
Sasa megaphylla ‘Nobilis’ Drysdale Nurseries, Hampshire MB
Semiarundinaria fastuosa Penjerrick; Nansidwell, Cornwall MB
Sinarundinaria (Arundinaria) anceps Nansidwell, Cornwall MB
Thamnocalamus spathaceus (Sinarundinaria murieliae) Wadebridge, Cornwall MB

Abbreviations: M B – Mike Bell; S R – Steve Renvoize.

The Bamboo Society (E.B.S. Great Britain) Newsletter no.16 October 1992

Extract from an article on Drepanostchyum falconeri by David McClintock

I have always looked upon this species as the only temperate example I had come across that approached the endlessly repeated dictum that all bamboos of the same species flowered at fixed intervals in the same year all over the world, and then died. A summary of its flowering years, so far as my notes go, is as follows :-

1821 Nepal
1847 Introduced to Kew as seed.
1873 – 7 Kew (from the 1847 seed),Ireland and elsewhere in Europe, Algiers and Sikkim.
1893 – 4 Kew (partial flowering)
1897 – 1900 India, including Darjeeling.
1902 – 8 England and Ireland. 1913-18 India (gregarious flowering).
1925 – 6 England (spasmodic flowering)
1929 – 32 England and Guernsey.
1935 New Zealand (North Island, Taranaki province).
1936 India
1964 – 8 England (one colony noted as 30 years old), Ireland, Scotland, Channel Islands, Nepal (flowering gregariously?)

I know of no plants that did not die after flowering, but seed was left (difficult to trace in my experience) and seedlings; I have three growing at Bracken Hill, which originally came from Scotland. These dates seem to indicate an interval of gregarious flowering in Britain of about 30 – 33 years. On that basis, I would have expected the next bout to come in the latter part of this decade.
However, Mike Bell had flower in Cornwall in 1990 and 91, with good seed and seedlings, however all the plants died in 1992, except one which came from a division made prior to flowering and which he tells me is in ‘full fig’ and showing no sign of flower. Perhaps this is a forerunner of flowering elsewhere, as there seems to have been in 1893 – 4 and 1925 – 6. I have heard of flower nowhere else.

The Bamboo Society (E.B.S. Great Britain) Newsletter no.17 March 1993

BAMBOO FLOWERING RECORDS: 1991 (additional to those listed in Newsletter 15)
Chimonobambusa marmorea Heligan, Cornwall MB; Stream Cottage, Pulbrough, Sussex PA; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew DMcC; Platt, Kent DMcC; Newtownards, Co. Down, Ireland DMcC
Himalayacalamus (Drepanostachyum) falconeri Penjerrick, Cornwall MB; Fox Rosehill Gardens, Falmouth MB
Phyllostachys elegans Montet, Switzerland TG
Arundinaria (Pleioblastus) chino f. elegantissima Drysdale Nurseries, Hampshire MB
A. (Pleioblastus) linearis Bicton, Devon DMcC
A. (Pleioblastus) simonii Lund, Sweden (see Newsletter 15)
A. (Pleioblastus) variegatus Burncoose Nursery, Redruth MB; Stream Cottage, Pulborough, Sussex MB
Sasa megalophylla ‘Nobilis’ Drysdale Nursery, Hampshire DMcC; Stream Cottage, Pulborough, Sussex DMcC; Reigate, Surrey DMcC
Abbreviations: MB, Mike Bell; DMcC, David McClintock; PA, Peter Addington;
TG, Tony Grieb). Thanks to these members for the additional records listed above.

I have severely reduced the information which they originally submitted for the sake of economy. Mike and David ask that members tell them about bamboo species in flower which have not appeared so far on these lists. These members have sent in a lot of additional information concerning the flowering of the species listed. I hope to be able to present these fuller records at a later date. Ed.

The Bamboo Society (E.B.S. Great Britain) Newsletter no.18 July 1993


David McClintock and Mike Bell

The records published in abbreviated form in Newsletters 15 & 17 are presented here in full; additional information is contributed by Peter Addington, Brian Dixon and Tony Grieb. In Newsletter 17 (p.24) it was reported that Sinarundinaria nitida was in flower in Mike Bell’s garden. This was an error. The only known record to date for this country is Carwinion.

Arundinaria gigantea

In 1991 the clump at Wadebridge, Cornwall, and the parent clump at Pencarrow, Cornwall, were in flower and set seed. The clumps are reduced in size and vigour but remain healthy. The plant at Kew has been in flower since 1981. There is also a record from Montet, Switzerland.

Chimonobambusa marmorea

In 1991 the clump at Pitt White, Devon, continued to flower and may have died. The plant at Heligan, Cornwall, has isolated, vigourously flowering culms and sets fertile seed. At Stream Cottage, Sussex, the plant flowered and unexpectedly died. The plant at Platt, Kent, set seed and the Kew plant flowers year after year, sets seed and retains its vigour. Plants under glass at Newtownards, Co. Down, have also been in flower.

Himalayacalamus (Drepanostachyum) falcatum

In 1991 the plant at Bosloe, Cornwall, which was in flower from 1989, was without leaves and flowers; the culms remained green and may regenerate.

Himalayacalamus (Drepanostachyum) falconeri

In 1991 all clumps at Penjerrick were dead after their recent flowering. The division of these at Carwinion, Cornwall, showed no sign of flowering and the clump at Lanarth, Cornwall, had not flowered. At Fox Rosehill Gardens, Falmouth, the plant (probably a division from the Penjerrick plant) had flowered and died. These were badly damaged by cold before flowering while the Carwinion plant was not.

Phyllostachys bambusoides

In 1991 this was reported to have been in flower in Germany for the last 2-3 years, the plant at Stream Cottage remained in a vegetative state.

P. elegans

In flower at Montet in 1991.

P. nigra var. henonis

The plant at Lanarth had a few culms in flower in spring 1991.

A previous record of a plant in flower was at Baronscourt, Co Tyrone in 1974.

Pleioblastus chino forma angustifolius

An unvariegated clone at Wadebridge continues to partially flower and produce seed; another plant at Platt remains vegetative.

P. chino forma elegantissima

In 1991 this species had been in flower for the past four years with David Crampton, now at Fordingbridge, Hampshire. Seed produced mostly green progeny, only one seedling was variegated.

P. chino ‘Murakamianus’

In flower since 1990 at Fordingbridge, even the seeds are variegated. The plant at Stream Cottage remained green.

P. linearis

In 1991 David Crampton reported this species to be in flower all over the country. At Kew flowering started in 1982. The plant at Stream Cottage however shows no sign of flowering.

P. pygmaeus var. distichus

Plants at Pitt White were in flower in 1991 and setting seed.

P. simonii

At Lund, Sweden, there was massive flowering in 1991 with the production of viable seed and seedlings; see Newsletter 15.

P. simonii ‘Variegatus’

Both the parent plant and its variegated offspring at Platt continued to flower in 1991 and set seed with increasing abundance. Unvariegated offspring show no sign of flowering. It is rare that a seedling should breed true and start flowering almost at once; cf Bambusblatter 2(1984).

P. variegatus (P. fortunei, Arundinaria fortunei)

Potted plants at Burncoose Nursey, Cornwall, continued to flower and set seed in 1991 as did the plant at Stream Cottage. Also seen in flower at Scotsdales Garden Centre in 1993.

Pseudosasa japonica

In flower for many years, though plants were seldom seen dead Recorded in 1991 at Fordingbridge; Grayshott, Surrey; Kew;

Platt; Ightham, Kent; Blagdon, Northumberland; Castlewellan, Helen’s Bay, Mount Stewart and Rowallane, Co. Down;

Glenveigh, Co. Donegal.

Sasa megaphylla ‘Nobilis’

Plants in flower in 1991 at Fordingbridge and Stream Cottage with seeds and at Reigate, Surrey, with seedlings. Earlier flowerings were recorded in 1979 and 1981.

Semiarundinaria fastuosa

Partial flowering in 1991 at Penjerrick and Nansidwell, Cornwall; no seeds found. No records are known of seeds set on this species in the British Isles. In Castlewellan and Rowallane a few culms were also in flower in 1991.

Thamnocalamus spathaceus (Arundinaria murielae)

In 1991 a plant at Wadebridge flowered vigorously but partially, producing a vast quantity of seed in June. The seed germinated readily in two or three weeks. Flowering has also been extensive in several plants at Kew and at Hilliers Arboretum, Hampshire, in Denmark and San Francisco.

T. aristatus

Partial flowering was reported in 1991 from Enys, Cornwall, but has now ceased, with apparently no reduction in the vigour of the plants. No other record since a single clump flowered at Dereen, Co Kerry in 1978-1981.

Yushania (Arundinaria) anceps

One of several plants at Nansidwell had isolated flowers in the spring of 1991.

The Bamboo Society (E.B.S. Great Britain) Newsletter no.19 February 1994


David McClintock

Ahead of any attempt to list what taxa have been producing flowers in the last year, two in 1993 deserve a special note. The first was Fargesia nitida, noticed on February 7th by Mike Bell at Carwinion in Cornwall, who sent me a specimen which is now preserved in my herbarium. This species was introduced by seed in the 1880’s and apparently no evidence is available as to what the seed let alone the inflorescence then looked like. But the latter proves to be very much like that of F. murielae, which further confirms its location in the same genus. The second is also due to Mike Bell’s eagle eyes.

On August 15th at Heligan he spotted just one culm of Chimonobambusa quadrangularis with good inflorescences, also now represented in my herbarium. There were two seeds, which unfortunately dropped into the litter.

I hope visitors will keep a look out for signs of germination. I know of absolutely no record anywhere of this species flowering, and such events have long been noted in the Far East. Do these two historical flowering events presage more? Will all members please look out for any flowering bamboos and let me have details for my records.

The Bamboo Society (E.B.S. Great Britain) Newsletter no.20 June 1994


David McClintock

Suddenly there were headlines and large photos in the Swedish newspapers on 20 April announcing the “world sensation” of Fargesia murielae flowering all over southwest Sweden. On 22nd April I was sent a fine flowering specimen of this species by Soren Odum from his home near the Arboretum at Horsholm in Denmark. He wrote that it was flowering all over the country and also in southern Sweden, and that in Denmark too reports were appearing in the papers and on television. Soren noted that flowering started as soon as the temperature approached 10°c, and that temperatures of between 10 and 15°c caused a mass flowering.

Have members noticed that such such temperature rises so rapidly bring on mass flowering? I still find most plants over here sterile, but would like to be told of any that do come into flower and if there are fertile seeds.

The previous flowering of this species in Denmark was in 1973, 20 years ago no less! These plants were of a dwarf form, and the normal sized plants remained in a vegetative state. Are we now seeing the normal sized plants coming into flower for the first time? Ed.


Steve Renvoize

Recent correspondence with Simon Laegaard, a colleague in the herbarium of the University of Ärhus, Denmark, has revealed that Thamnocalamus nitidus is in flower there. This is the second report after that from Carwinion last year. He also reports the continued flowering of Thamnocalamus spathaceus.


David McClintock & Mike Bell

Arundinaria gigantea (A. tecta) Pencarrow, Cornwall. This clone is still in flower; the one at Wadebridge has stopped flowering.

Bambusa multiplex ‘Alphonse Karr’ Horley, Surrey. Growing out of doors.

Chimonobambusa marmorea Heligan, Cornwall. Pitt White, Dorset (producing seeds and possibly dying). At Kew not flowering, the first time for many years.

C. quadrangulariis Heligan, Cornwall. One culm in full flower, two seeds produced but lost.

Chusquea coronalis Leigh, Surrey. Grown in a greenhouse, prolific flowering but no seeds.

Fargesia (Sinarundinaria) nitida Carwinion, Cornwall. Seeds produced and germinated.

F. murielae Pennjerrick, Cornwall. Hilliers, Hants (since 1992). Fittleworth, Sussex. Wantage & Oxford, Oxon. Kew, Surrey. Chelsea, London. Pwllheli, Wales. Isle of Man. Mt Usher, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Brussels & Kalmthout, Belgium (since 1992). Colmar, Alsace. Netherlands (source not recorded). Mainz, Muggensturm & Baden, Germany.

Himalayacalamus hookerianus Kew, Surrey. Edinburgh, Scotland. Same clone, grown in a green-house, in flower for several years, producing prolific fertile seed.

Indocalamus tessellatus Fordingbridge, Hants. Seeds produced.

Phyllostachys aureo-sulcata Wadebridge, Cornwall (a single odd flower from a potted division). Stockdorf, Bavaria (originally from USA, in flower for a decade, no seeds).

P. aureo-sulcata f. alata Kimmei Nursery, Netherlands.

P. aureo-sulcata ‘Spectabilis’ Edenbridge, Kent. Grown in a pot. No seeds.

P. bambusoides ‘White Crookstem’ Prafrance, Anduze, France. One clump died, another is still in flower.

P. elegans Wadebridge, Cornwall (seeds originally from USA). Stockdort, Bavaria (originally from USA and in flower ever since).

P. fimbriligulata Kimmei Nursey, Netherlands.

P. flexuosa Nansidwell (5 seeds) & Hayle, Cornwall. Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Ireland (one or two culms, no seeds). California & Georgia, USA (in full flower). Australia (almost died out).

P. sulphurea var. viridis (“viridis mitis”) Prafrance, Anduze, France.

Pleioblastus auricomus Wadebridge, Cornwall. Borough Green, Kent. No seeds.

P. chino Wadebridge, Cornwall (seed set). Barnstaple, Devon. Pwllheli, Wales. New Ross, Co. Wexford, Ireland. No seeds.

P. chino var. hisauchii (P. hindsii auctt.) Kimmei Nursery, Netherlands. No seeds.

P. linearis Heligan, Cornwall (isolated flowers after seed set in previous years). New Ross, Co. Wexford, Ireland (no seeds).

P. pygmaeus var. distichus Heligan, Cornwall. Pitt White, Dorset.

P. simonii Lanivet & Wadebridge, Cornwall (still flowering, no seeds). New Ross, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

P. simonii ‘Variegatus’ (‘Heterophyllus’) Wisley, Surrey (no seed). Prafrance, Anduze, France.

Pseudosasa japonica Lanivet, Cornwall. Platt, Kent. Wisley, Surrey. Faringdon, Oxon. Batsford, Glos. Near Cardiff, Wales. Guernsey. Glasnevin, Dublin; Lisnavagh, Co. Carlow; New Ross, Co Wexford; Ireland. Prafrance, Anduze, France. Other localities also. All without seed. Plant at Cappoquin has never flowered.

Sasa “seikoana” (name not traced) Platt, Kent. Croydon, Surrey. Hoor, Netherlands (same plant). Stockdorf, Bavaria.

S. sp. Platt, Kent. Full brief flower (for a few weeks only) with seeds.

Sasaella sp. Platt, Kent.

S. ramosa Heligan, Cornwall. Kalmthout, Belgium. (1983-1987). Seeds.

Semiarundinaria fastuosa Heligan, Nansidwell & Penjerrick, Cornwall. Cappoquin, Co. Wexford, Ireland (grown in a pot).

Thamnocalamus spathiflorus Enys, Cornwall. Some culms in full flower, seeds germinated in two months.

Yushania anceps Nansidwell, Cornwall. In flower for some years, good seeds.

(more to follow)