Bamboos for Edible Shoots

Bamboo is incredibly useful in a number of different ways and can be a wonderful addition for many gardens. There are many reasons to grow bamboo, not least for their canes, which can be used for a variety of garden and home uses. What you may not be aware of, however, is that bamboo can also be a valuable edible crop, providing fresh shoots that can eaten as a tasty and nutritious spring vegetable. Here are some of the bamboos that can be cultivated for their edible shoots:

Phyllostachys aurea

Phyllostachys aurea (Fishpole Bamboo)

This generally clump-forming bamboo can tolerate drought and salt. It produces edible shoots and also provides mid-sized canes with a diameter of 1-3cm that reach a height of 3-5m.

Moso Bamboo

Phyllostachys edulis (Moso Bamboo)

This is a well-known and major edible crop in China and Japan. It is moderately spreading and grows to a height of around 6m. The cane diameter is around 50mm, with a bright green colour that matures to yellow.

Phyllostachys violascens

Phyllostachys violascens (Violet Bamboo)

Great for both garden canes and edible shoots, this is a mid-sized bamboo with canes that reach around 4-5m in height and have a diameter of around 2cm. These plants are violet when young and can be an attractive ornamental, though should be treated as a crop and harvested regularly to prevent excessive spreading.

Vivax bamboo

Phyllostachys vivax (Smooth-sheathed Bamboo)

Smooth-sheathed bamboo is a huge and vigorous plant that can grow to 8m in height, though it is excellent for edible shoots and large canes. The canes can grow up to an amazing 7cm in diameter and are great for more sturdy construction.

Pleioblastus simonii

Pleioblastus simonii (Simon Bamboo)

These bamboos are of a medium size and are also used for both eating and canes. They grow to a height of around 4-6m and have a diameter of around 2cm.

Arrow bamboo

Pseudosasa japonica (Arrow Bamboo)

Again useful for both canes and edible shoots, arrow bamboo is medium sized. Its canes grow to 1-2cm in diameter and to around 3-5m in height.

Semiarundinaria fastuosa

Semiarundinaria fastuosa (Narihira Bamboo)

Another medium sized bamboo, narihira grows to around 3-5m in height and has canes with a diameter of around 1-3cm. The canes and edible shoots of this plant both make for valuable and versatile crops.

Yushania anceps

Yushania anceps

For smaller gardens and constricted spaces, a small bamboo may be a better option. This is one possible choice. It grows to a height of 3-4m and has 1.5cm wide canes. It is also valued for its edible shoots and for its mature canes.