Phyllostachys nigra

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Phyllostachys nigra
Black bamboo in Bambouseraie de Prafrance at Générargues, Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Phyllostachys
P. nigra
Binomial name
Phyllostachys nigra
  • Arundinaria stolonifera Kurz
  • Bambos kurotake Siebold nom. inval.
  • Bambusa boryana Bean nom. inval.
  • Bambusa dichotoma Donn nom. inval.
  • Bambusa nigra Lodd. ex Lindl.
  • Bambusa nigricans Steud. nom. inval.
  • Bambusa nigropunctata Bean nom. inval.
  • Phyllostachys boryana Mitford
  • Phyllostachys filifera McClure
  • Phyllostachys fulva Mitford
  • Phyllostachys nana Rendle
  • Phyllostachys nigripes Hayata
  • Phyllostachys nigropunctata Mitford
  • Phyllostachys punctata (Bean) A.H.Lawson
  • Phyllostachys stolonifera Kurz ex Munro nom. inval.
  • Sinarundinaria nigra A.H.Lawson nom. inval.
  • Sinoarundinaria nigra (Lodd. ex Lindl.) Ohwi ex Mayeb.

Phyllostachys nigra, commonly known as black bamboo[2] or purple bamboo (Chinese: 紫竹), is a species of bamboo, native to Hunan Province of China, and is widely cultivated elsewhere.[3]

Growing up to 25 m (82 ft) tall by 30 cm (1 ft) broad, it forms clumps of slender arching canes which turn black after two or three seasons. The abundant lance-shaped leaves are 4–13 cm (2–5 in) long.

Numerous forms and cultivars are available for garden use. The species [4] and the form P. nigra f. henonis[5] have both gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[6] The form henonis is also known as Henon bamboo[5] and as cultivar 'Henon'.[7]

Life cycle[edit]

Like many species of bamboo, black bamboo synchronizes its flowering, with flowering events happening every 40-120 years. According to one source, it has bloomed every 120 years "since records have been kept".[8] It is monocarpic, that is, after flowering, the plants die.

Henon bamboo flowers every 120 years and is predicted to flower in the 2020s. Since it is widely distributed in Japan, dieback of its stands may cause serious social and environmental problems. Moreover, Henon bamboo rarely sets fertile seeds, so it is not clear how this species has survived over long periods in Japan.[9][10]


It is used for lumber (timber), food, and musical instruments, among other things, in areas of China where it is native and also worldwide.


A 2008 study from Zhejiang University, in China, isolated several flavone C-glycosides on black bamboo leaves, including orientin, homoorientin, vitexin and isovitexin.[11]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Phyllostachys nigra". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  3. ^ Zheng-ping Wang and Chris Stapleton. "Phyllostachys nigra (Loddiges ex Lindley) Munro". Flora of China Online. Vol. 22.
  4. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Phyllostachys nigra". Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b "RHS Plant Selector - Phyllostachys nigra f. henonis". Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  6. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 78. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Bamboo Species Source List". American Bamboo Society. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  8. ^ Surley, J.; Styles, B.T. Editors (1976). Tropical Trees. London: Academic Press. pp. 138-139 (article by Daniel Janzen). {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ Yamada, Toshihiro; Imada, Karin; Aoyagi, Hitoshi; Nakabayashi, Miyabi (2023-06-12). "Does monocarpic Phyllostachys nigra var. henonis regenerate after flowering in Japan? Insights from 3 years of observation after flowering". PLOS ONE. 18 (6): e0287114. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0287114. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 10259779. PMID 37307263.
  10. ^ "Flowering for naught: 120 years with nothing to show". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2023-09-10.
  11. ^ Isolation and purification of four flavone C-glycosides from antioxidant of bamboo leaves by macroporous resin column chromatography and preparative high-performance liquid chromatography. Yu Zhang, Jingjing Jiao, Chengmei Liu, Xiaoqin Wu and Ying Zhang, Food Chemistry, 1 April 2008,, Volume 107, Issue 3, Pages 1326–1336, doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2007.09.037

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