The bamboo plant belongs to the grass family called Poaceae under the subgroup Bambusoidae . They are evergreen perennial plants that usually grow in the tropics. Like other grasses, they have parallel leaves, but for the bamboo, their trunks are hollow and columns. Bamboo is some of the fastest growing plants on the planet, and this is due to their unique rhizome-dependent system. Some plant species can grow up to 36 inches over a 24-hour period. Some of the bamboo that grows under the right conditions without animal destruction can reach up to 164 feet long and as large as 12-20 inches wide, but this does not apply to all bamboo plants but specific species.
A brief history of the bamboo plant
Although the plant can now be found anywhere in the tropics, it is believed to have originated in China where the data shows that it was used as far back as the Han Dynasty in 206 BC. This claim is also supported by the presence of more than 400 species of bamboo native to China. The bamboo we know today evolved from prehistoric grasses about 40 million years ago and it became an important source of food for the herbivores that existed at that time.
Applications of bamboo
No other plant is more versatile than bamboo when it comes to use. In ancient China it was used to create makeshift cannons to throw sulfurbombs at the enemy during war, it may not have been a proper tool for that purpose but it made an impression during that time. Bamboo was also used to make paper during the Han Dynasty using a technique later stolen by Turkish who spread it to other parts of Europe. Bamboo was also used as medicine to reduce mucus, treat epilepsy, fever and a host of other diseases that plagued people during that time.