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A bamboo 3 to 20 ft or more high, with green or at length yellow, solid, erect or slightly spreading stems, up to 1 in. thick at the base; branches in dense clusters, slender. Leaf-blades linear or linear-lanceolate, sharply pointed, shortly stalked, 1 to 21⁄2 in. or more long, 1⁄6 to 1⁄3 in. wide, rigid, deep green, slightly hairy or hairless, five-veined, the midrib prominent beneath, mostly conspicuously tesselate; ligules blunt, up to 1⁄12 in. long.
Native of Argentina and Chile; introduced in 1926 by seed collected by H. F. Comber during his 1926–7 expedition to the Andes, and by L. Bridges in 1939 from the Magellan region. There are fine clumps of this graceful bamboo in several southern gardens, including those of the Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley, Surrey, and Hidcote, Gloucestershire.
It is possible that two other Chilean species of Chusquea are in cultivation, viz. C. cummingii Nees, with solid, slender stems 6 to 10 ft high, lanceolate-linear leaf-blades 1 to 2 in. long and 1⁄12 to 1⁄4 in. wide, without tessellations; collected in the Andes by Clarence Elliott in 1927: and C. quila (Poir.) Kunth, with solid stems reaching 40 to 50 ft in height, narrowly lanceolate leaf-blades up to 5 in. long and 1⁄2 in. wide, without tessellations; collected in the Andes in 1927 by H. F. Comber (no. 997) and in 1929 by Clarence Elliott (no. 576).
The above three species may be distinguished from the species of Arundinaria in cultivation by their solid culms and mostly few-veined leaf-blades.
Additional synonym: C. breviglumis Phil.
Typically the leaves of this species are 2 to 4in. long and 3⁄8 in. or slightly more wide. In C. cumingii, which is very closely related to it, they are shorter and narrower, 3⁄4 to 23⁄8 in. long and 3⁄4 to 3⁄16 in. wide. If the two were united the species would take the name C. cumingii, which has priority.
Also in cultivation is C. culeou var. tenuis McClintock, with shorter, more slender, spreading stems.
Mention was also made of C. quila. The plants cultivated under this name are in fact C. culeou. The true species is quite distinct.