What is bamboo? Maybe many of you are not familiar to this type of plants or maybe you have seen this already but you just do not know its name. To tell you, bamboo refers to a tribe of flowering perennial evergreen plants in the grass family POaceae, in the subfamily of Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are said to be the largest members of the grass family. The intermodal regions of the stem of the bamboos are hallows and the vascular bundle in the cross section are scattered throughout the stem instead of a cylindrical arrangement like most trees do.
And unlike other trees, dicotyledonous woody xylem is absent in cases of bamboos which causes the stems of monocots, even palms and large bamboos to be columnar instead of tapering.
Of all the plants in the world, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants and the reason behind it is the fact that it has a unique rhizome dependent system. In South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, bamboos are noted to have economical and cultural significance. Bamboos are being used as food source, building materials, and a versatile raw product. In some cases, high quality bamboos are even stronger than steel which a property that is used as building material and weapon.
Do you know that bamboos have also culinary uses? As a matter of fact, shoots of bamboo though they contain a toxin taxiphyllin that produces cyanide in the gut, when they are processed properly they are edible. Bamboo shoots are used in various Asian dishes and broth and they are also widely available in supermarkets that come in different sliced forms and be bought fresh or canned. In Nepal, bamboo shoots are also used as food. Shoots of bamboos are being fermented and it becomes an important ingredient in cuisines across the Himalayas.
In Indonesia, bamboo shoots are being sliced thin and boiled with along with thick coconut milk called santan. Along with different spices, it makes up the dish commonly known as gulaj rebung, this kind of dish as also a similar version in other Southeast Asian countries like Philippines. Bamboo shoots can also be a recipe for lumpia a fried wrapped bamboo shoots with vegetables and sayur lodeh a mixed vegetables in coconut milk.
Bamboos are one of the few plants that are very useful to both humankind and animals. These tall plants have different uses in different countries across the globe.