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Stems reaching sometimes nearly 20 ft high in this country and bent somewhat stiffly, 11⁄2 in. in diameter, deep yellow when mature. Leaves 2 to 5 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. wide, tapering or rounded at the base, slender-pointed, dark green above, glaucous beneath, glabrous except at the base of the midrib beneath, and toothed – especially on one margin; stalk 1⁄8 in. or less long; leaf-sheath with a tuft of bristles at each side near the top; secondary nerves three to six each side the midrib.
Native of China, long cultivated in Japan; introduced about 1890. In foliage it resembles P. aurea, under which the distinctions are pointed out. It requires a sheltered spot and abundant sunshine to develop its best qualities, and does not recover from injury by cold so rapidly as P. aurea. The stems are never truly erect, but are bowed, with usually also an inclination to twist. The stems when young grow with great rapidity, sometimes nearly 1 foot in twenty-four hours in this country – more in hotter ones. They are the stoutest among our hardy bamboos. In Japan the young shoots are cooked and eaten; according to Lord Redesdale they are flavourless, but have a crisp and pleasant consistency.
The name adopted for this species in the work cited above is P. heterocycla (Carr.) Mitf., the type of which is the abnormal P. pubescens cv. ‘Heterocycla’.