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Phyllostachys atrovaginata

Other names: "Incense Bamboo"

Statistics:  Height:  30-50 feet   Diameter:  1.5-3 inches

Incense Bamboo is a medium-sized running bamboo.  It has a strong form with attractive, prominent nodes and small sunny-green leaves. Its medium-green canes grow to over 40 feet in height and 2 inches in diameter.  It shoots in mid- to late spring.  The shoots are a very beautiful steely gray color with bright powdery white sheath margins and a sharp tip.  They are quite tasty.  Incense bamboo will naturally grow into a dense thicket.

The name Incense Bamboo comes from the pleasing grassy odor common to other timber bamboos, especially Henon, which waft throughout the grove during humid air conditions.  It is easiest to achieve here in Western Oregon with a little misting or irrigation in the summer.  If the conditions aren't right you probably won't notice it.  The smell is also noticeable during culm harvest as leaves get crushed and release the scent.


The new shoots are about 20 feet tall on June 24th and they are only about 6 weeks old.  They will be fully grown by mid-July.

A hand for scale.  These culms are about 2 1/4 inches in diameter.


Phyllostachys atrovaginata in Corvallis, Oregon.  These culms are about 30 feet tall.


This stand is about 30 feet tall.

New shoots arrive usually in mid May and grow fast!  Notice the unusual shape and color.

Phyllostachys atrovaginata has tough branches that come out from the culm near perpendicular.  The branches can be over 4 feet long.

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Last Modified on 08/08/2016