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Phyllostachys aurea

Other names:  "Golden Bamboo," "Fish Pole Bamboo," Hotei-chiku (布袋竹)

Statistics:  Height:  15-30 feet   Diameter:  -2 inches

Golden Bamboo has long been the bamboo of choice for landscapes, screens, and hedges in the United States.  It has been popular for over 50 years and will continue to be important for many reasons.  Its overall appearance is usually light green and dense.  Golden Bamboo is a compact bamboo with relatively large culms and branches.  Its leaves often begin just above the ground making it perfect for a solid wall.  The culms are rigidly vertical and relatively short for a Phyllostachys, rarely growing over 20 feet tall.  Golden Bamboo is seldom harmed by heavy rain, snow, or ice.  The culms are green, but the bigger ones almost always are coated with a delicate waxy bluish powder when they drop their sheaths.  This powder gives the bamboo a soft blue appearance for many months.  The culms often have distorted internodes near their base keeping them short and thick and giving the bamboo an unusual and interesting appearance.  Golden Bamboo's shoots are inconspicuous and tasty.  Aurea can run vigorously, but seldom does.


The blue color of Phyllostachys aurea's new culms is often very impressive.  Only a few other bamboos do this so vividly. The blue color is caused by a fine waxy coating on the larger and more distorted culms.

New culms look softer and often more bluish while older culms are more yellow or brown.

The distortions of the large culms gives aurea its fame.  These culms are about 1 inch in diameter.

Here is a hedge about 6 feet tall outside the Montgomery Park building in Portland, Oregon. Maintaining the shape is easily achieved through once-a-year pruning of the new growth.

Here is another hedge about 4 feet tall in thhe parking strip of a Sellwood, Oregon neighborhood.  It's just about time to prune off the tops of the new shoots.

In Japan, as there is not a lot of space for lare bamboos in town, shopowners will put them into incredibly tight planters.  Here 6 foot tall Phyllostachys aurea has a tiny troughs about 9x20 inches.

More aurea hedges in Beaverton, Oregon.

A tall screen of aurea in Miura, Japan.

Running bamboos such as aurea can run under fences and foundations unless checked.  The rhizome control ditch on both sides of the aurea screen here allows the owner to hook out the rhizomes when they spread.

The same screen and control ditch viewed from the front.

A 30 foot tall aurea at Doug King's place.

A side yard planting of aurea freshly thinned out.

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Last Modified on 08/08/2016