This is a very common question, and the answer arouses amazement and thrill at the same time.
Because thinking of bamboo mostly brings about images of bushes or smaller and bigger trunks, many people classify it as a tree. However, in the botanical taxonomy, this miraculous plant belongs to the GRASS FAMILY – POACEAE (Gramineae).
Bamboo was first scientifically classified as grass by a German botanist Charles Kunth, back in 1815.
It is the only subfamily of grass in the world that can form true forests.
For this reason, bamboo species that resemble trees are often called “bamboo trees”. However, there are several important features that prove this plant does not belong to any tree family.
The first, most noticeable feature that separates bamboo from trees is the lack of bark in bamboo trunks. Instead of having bark, the surface of bamboo is very smooth, and in the early stage of growth it is protected by many small leaves, growing out of each trunk’s joint.
Bamboo does not have vascular cambium layer – conductive tissue that stretches along the whole trunk, up to the top of the branches, as is the case with trees. That layer enables trees to grow constantly both in height and width.
On the other hand, bamboo reaches its full height during a single growth season – for one year. Over the following years of its life, it just increases the number of branches and leaves, whether it grows low or high.
Is the “lucky bamboo” – a bamboo?
It can always be found in flower shops and nursery-gardens, under the name “LUCKY BAMBOO” or “FRIENDSHIP BAMBOO”, but – is this plant really a bamboo?
Although it looks almost identical to most bamboo species – this plant is not in the same taxonomy group with it. Namely, it is a species of the genus Dracaena – Dracaena Sanderijana.
That, of course, does not downgrade its beauty and value, especially if we have in mind the deeply rooted belief that it brings good luck and prosperity. That is why it is a mandatory item in the interior of the houses designed according to feng shui, and it is often bought as a gift for celebrations and moving into new premises.
The fact that bamboo belongs to the grass family gives its properties even more value, making it in an amazing, great and special form of life on our beautiful planet.