A Moso play structure at Bamboo Valley, with a sleeping baby
atop under the umbrellas.
Other names: "Moso", Moso-chiku (孟宗竹),
Phyllostachys pubescens, P. heterocycla 'Pubescens',
Statistics: Height: 40-65+ feet
Diameter: 2-7 inches
Moso's culms are green, turning to yellow in constant sunlight.
They are also rigid, fuzzy when young, and have thick walls,
especially below the branching nodes. The leaves are
tiny in proportion to the plant's overall size giving Moso a
very delicate feathery appearance. The shoots are
usually the first of the large Phyllostachys
bamboos to emerge in the spring during February through
March. They are large, hairy, and delicious.
They are widely imported from China and are likely the ones
you are eating at your local Chinese restaurant. For
years Moso has had a stigma attached to it because it was believed
not to grow well here in Western Oregon. The truth is, at
least at Bamboo Valley, that Moso grows at least as fast as Vivax.
You simply have to water it enough.
Moso has been so widely used for construction and in so many different locales that over the years taxonomists have given it at least four different scientific names. This has made
great confusion for layman and professional alike. Now we
usually use the simplest and shortest of the names—Moso. No other bamboo but Moso is deserving of this kind of attention. It is the king of all temperate bamboos and is unparalleled in sheer size and strength.
for Moso—because of its size and strength—are practically
unlimited. Many of the popular processed bamboo
products are made from Moso. Asia has never been able
to satisfy its need for Moso culms as fishing net floats,
scaffolding, and paper have all traditionally been made from
it. Now Moso is also used for laminate wood products
including flooring, and Moso-rayon fiber textiles. Moso is
that giant bamboo in the forests featured in movies such as
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "House of Flying
Daggers." It has been cultivated for centuries in
Asia, but in North America only for the last 100 years or
so. Hopefully we'll see more farmers growing Moso this
side of the Pacific in the near future.
at Bamboo Valley.
Along a path inside a bamboo forest in Japan.
A maintained Moso forest has no dead culms lying around at odd