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Stems up to 25 ft long in the mildest parts of the kingdom, tufted, very slender, round, olive green, becoming yellowish, with a very distinct stain of purplish brown at the joints; the joints quite devoid of down; stem-sheaths purple, glabrous, except towards the top and at the margins. Leaves normally 2 to 4 in. long, about 1⁄3 in. wide, bright green, rather glaucous beneath, with purplish stalks and margins; secondary veins three or four each side the midrib, not tessellated with cross-veins; leaf-sheaths purplish, not hairy at the top. Bot. Mag., t. 7947, as A. nobilis.
Native of the Himalaya; first introduced to England in 1847 by Col. E. Madden, who sent large quantities of seeds to Kew, which were distributed through Europe. These plants grew well where the climatic conditions were favourable, and flowered in 1875 and 1876. Every plant ultimately died, but from the seed they produced, a new generation was raised, which in its turn flowered between 1903 and 1908. The next general flowering occurred between 1929 and 1932 during which period plants flowered in Guernsey, in Cornwall (St Keverne) and in the Temperate House at Kew. From 1964 to 1967 flowering has taken place in English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh gardens, and in Guernsey.
A. falconeri produces its stems in a dense, crowded cluster, and does not spread by underground suckers. It is not very hardy, but in such places as Cornwall and the south-west of Ireland it is magnificent. At Kew it is killed to the ground every winter. The species has been much confused with A. falcata – an inferior bamboo, more tender, not so tall, and really very distinct in its glaucous stems with velvety joints, and in the long, tapered points of the stem-sheaths.
The genus Thamnocalamus in which this species has been placed is very near to Arundinaria and is included in it by McClintock in The European Garden Flora, Vol. 2 (1984).