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Phyllostachys bambusoides - Madake

Synonyms:P. quiloi. P. reticulata. non Rupr. P. sulphurea. 'All Gold'.
Range:E. Asia - China, Japan.
Phyllostachys bambusoides (Madake) is a Bamboo which grows to a height of 8m and a width of 8m . It has a hardness rating of 7.
The flowers from this plant are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and they are pollinated by Wind

Soil Information

Madake will grow in light (sandy),medium (loamy),hard (clay) soil. It is not necessary for the soil to be well drained.
The soil prefers the following PH / acid levels :
- pH of less than 6, Acidic soils
- pH between 6 and 8, Neutral soils
- pH greater than 8, Basic soils
Madake prefers moist soils

Ideal Planting Locations

Woodland and especially on lower cleared slopes[162].

Planting places suited to this plant described below.

Cultivation Details

Requires a rich loamy soil and plenty of moisture in the growing season[1] plus a sheltered position[200]. A very hardy plant[11, 25], tolerating temperatures down to about -18c, but it dislikes prolonged exposure to hard frosts[200]. Plants can reach 25 metres in height in their native habitat, they are much smaller in Britain but, even so, a height of 12 metres has been recorded in Cornwall. Cultivated for its edible shoots in China[183], it is the most widely grown bamboo in Japan for its useful canes[195]. It has been widely planted for ornament in the Mediterranean and is becoming naturalized there[50]. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value[200]. 'Castillon' has smaller culms than the species type, the edible shoots are less bitter[195]. A plant of this cultivar at Trebah gardens in Cornwall was growing well in woodland shade, it was 5 metres tall with canes 20mm in diameter[K]. This is a good companion species to grow in a woodland because the plants are shallow rooted and do not compete with deep rooted trees[195]. The rootstock is running but not aggressively so, especially in the cooler climate of Britain[25]. New shoots are produced from late May[25]. Individual stems can be long lived, staying leafy for up to 20 years[195]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Plants only flower at intervals of several years, viable seed is usually produced[122]. When they do come into flower most of the plants energies are directed into producing seed and consequently the plant is severely weakened. They usually die after flowering, but if left alone they will sometimes recover though they will look very poorly for a few years. If fed with artificial NPK fertilizers at this time the plants are more likely to die[122].

Edible Uses*

* See disclaimer
Edible Rating: 4/5
Young shoots - cooked as a vegetable[25, 46, 105]. Large but somewhat acrid when raw[61], they require boiling in a lot of water or in several changes of water[183]. The shoots are harvested in the spring when they are about 8cm above the ground, cutting them about 5cm below soil level. The shoots contain about 2.1% protein, 0.3% fat, 3.2% carbohydrate, 0.9% ash[179].

Medicinal Uses*

* See disclaimer
Medicinal Rating: 1/5
The leaves are antipyretic[218]. New shoots are used in the treatment of haematuria[218].


Seed - surface sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse at about 20c. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination usually takes place fairly quickly so long as the seed is of good quality, though it can take 3 - 6 months. Grow on in a lightly shaded place in the greenhouse until large enough to plant out. Seed is rarely available. Division in spring as new growth commences. Divisions from the open ground do not transplant well, so will need careful treatment and nurturing under cover in pots until at least late spring[238]. Division is best carried out in wet weather and small divisions will establish better than large clumps[238]. Another report says that you can take large divisions from established clumps and transfer them straight to their permanent positions, misting or drenching them frequently until they are established[200]. Basal cane cuttings in spring.

Known Hazards

None known

Other Uses

The plant has an extensive root system and is used for erosion control. The stems are used for making furniture, plant supports etc[46, 61, 74]. Fairly thick walled, the canes are considered to be the most versatile of this genus and are used in construction and other industrial uses[195]. Even the dead culms are durable[195].


'Castillon' - This cultivar has smaller culms than the species type, the edible shoots are less bitter[195]. A plant of this cultivar at Trebah gardens in Cornwall was growing well in woodland shade, it was 5 metres tall with canes 20mm in diameter[K].


Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Bean. W.
Author: Bean. W.
Publisher : A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
Date of Publication : 1981

The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Huxley. A.
Author: Huxley. A.
Publisher : Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
Date of Publication : 1992

DISCLAIMER: All information published on is for entertainment purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained here with other sources. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by doctors or dietary advice by dieticians. will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising therefrom.