When in school you get to learn a lot of things, but then you never learn about everything. Bamboo is a common plant and is considered to be one of the wonderful plant species on our planet. For many centuries the plant has been used in making clothes, a source of food and building shelters for many people in the world. The useful of bamboo cuts across many items and products. Bamboo sheets are just one of the products you can get from the bamboo plant. The other important reason why bamboo is celebrated so much, is because it plays an important role in protecting the environment during its lifetime.
There are so many interestingfacts about this big hollow plant that hasextensive root structure. Below we want to look at some of the interesting facts about this versatile plant.
1. Bamboo Is A Grass?
Well, shocking as it may seem, bamboo is not a tree as some people tend to assume. In fact, it’s a simple grass. Many people think bamboo is a tree because of its toughness and height, and its woody stem, but far from the truth. Bamboo is the largest plant species in the grass family. There are different species of the bamboo grass, the species can be grouped into two major groups: clumping bamboo and running bamboo. The running bamboo is more common in Japan and China, its roots tend to grow outwards. The clumping bamboo has more organized growth structure, apart from being found I the tropics they are the largest bamboo species.
2. Growth Spurt in 24 hours
Apart from being the largest and tallest species in the grass family, the bamboo plant has a very impressive and unique growth speed. In just 24 hours the bamboo plant as the capability of growing over 3 feet, which close to 1 meter in a day. This growth speed has been witnessed by the Moso bamboo which is found in China and Japan. When a bamboo grass starts to grow, it will shoot from the ground with the full diameter it will have when fully grown. For the next few weeks, the bamboo grass grows into a long straight pole until the full height is reached. Then the nodes will start developing secondary branches and leaves. It takes 3 to 5 years for the stem of the bamboo grass to fully mature and be ready for harvesting.
3. Oxygen production
Its common knowledge that plants help in oxygen production at night. The funny and shocking fact that most people don’t know about the bamboo plant, is that it produces more oxygen than trees. A given area that has bamboo plants will produce 35% more oxygen compared to the same geographical area that has trees. More reason why you need to take good care of the bamboo plant.
4. Bamboo has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties
As more people embrace the use of natural medicines in coming up with home remedies, it’s important to take the bamboo plant into consideration. The bamboo plant has a natural bioagent known as bamboo kun, which enhances the ability of the bamboo to protect itself from destructive microbes like fungus and bacteria. This bioagent allows the full growth of the bamboo plant with no need for fertilizers and/or pesticides. The anti-bacterial property of the bamboo plant is also found in its products and that’s why clothing made from bamboo have become very popular.
Many times we have seen people using the bamboo plant in construction sites. The main reason being, the bamboo plant is stronger than steel. The tensile strength of the bamboo plant is 28,000 pounds per square inch, hence why it’s one of the most preferred construction materials by many people around the world. For the past 1000 years, the Chinese community has used the bamboo plant in making suspension bridges. These days the bamboo poles are being used in reinforcing concrete during construction of buildings and other structures.
The world has enjoyed several inventions that have been attributed to the bamboo plant. Thomas Edison who is well known for making the first light bulb used the bamboo plant in making the filament of his first light bulb. Edison used a carbonized bamboo filament to light up his bulb. When the first phonograph was being done, the bamboo plant was used instead of a needle. The other interesting discovery is that the first helicopter to be made in the world was based on a toy made from bamboo, years to follow many planes were made from bamboo due to its weight ratio and excellent strength.
7. Planting bamboo
Unlike the normal grass, you plant on your garden, planting a bamboo plant will more beneficial to you. The bamboo plant offers a natural shade which can make the whole surrounding place to be 15derees cooler. You can use the bamboo plants as a natural fence and shield against any natural and artificial obstructions. The other environmental benefits being, zero soil erosion caused by rainwater.
8. Source of food
The bamboo plant can also be used as a reliable source of food. For many centuries the Asian communities have cooked and boiled the fresh bamboo shoots and incorporated them into their cultural cuisines. The shoots have very low-calorie content and offers the human body with dietary potassium and fiber. The humans are not the only ones who use the bamboo grass as food, other animals who use the bamboo plant as a source of food include elephants, gorillas, chimps and pandas.
9. The 450 m floating bridge
In Thailand the wooden bridge used to cross the Song Kalia River collapsed, the villagers used bamboo to build a floating bridge. The floating bridge took 6 whole days to build. If you look at the modern world today, you will find many items that are made from bamboo.
10. Ancient Books & Medicine
Back in the days before the invention of paper was made, the bamboo strips were used as the writing materials in ancient China. Apart from being used in recording down literature and other ancient writings, the bamboo plant was used in making ancient medicines. Bamboo shavings were known for being a reliable remedy for treating flu and cold. The leaves from the bamboo plant were also used in Japan to treat fever.
Image Credits: Bamboo from Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock