Bamboo belongs to the Bambusoideae subfamily of the perennial evergreen grass family Poaceae (Gramineae). It was German Botanist; Charles Kunth that first published his taxonomic findings in 1815. Of all grasses, bamboo is the largest and the only one that can diversify into forest.
The subfamily Bambusoidaea consists of both woody and herbaceous bamboos with altogether 1575 identified species in 111 different genera. Herbaceous bamboos are usually small and resemble grass, while woody bamboos (depending on the species) can grow up to 40 m tall and 30 cm in diameter, hence the reason they are often confused for being “trees”.
About 100 species are used commercially, of which 20 are identified as priority species for those wishing to start bamboo plantation.
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on this planet. It has been recorded growing at an amazing 47.6 inches in a 24 hours’ time period.
Bamboo comprises of many different species which all have unique growth rates and characteristics. These growth rates can be established in shooting season, and when optimal soil and climate conditions are present.
Bamboo can be eaten (new) shoots, made into fiber for clothing, it can be used in concrete reinforcement, in can provide great livestock feed with the foliage being up to 22% protein, it can be machined into numerous forms of lumber, etc.
It might be easier to compile a list of what bamboo cannot be used for than what it is used for.