Bamboo comes in more varieties than the lay person may imagine, but even the experts have not been counting up the right number of kinds that exist.
The Hindustan Times has reported that researchers from Pune have found a new species of the plant in the north-western ghats area and have named it Pseudoxytenanthera madhavii after professor Madhav Gadgil, an Indian ecologists with a particular interest in bamboo.
Biologists found the plants in the village of Shirkoli. It was not like some unknown animal that had been lurking in the shadows, as it was known as ‘Mes’ locally had been used in construction. However, it had previously it been assumed to be of the same species as another kind of bamboo found in the area, called Manga.
Senior researcher Dr Sujata Tetali said the new species was “not yet known botanically” before now.
He added that the species is now being used for more than just construction. He explained: “Its demand for furniture and in the housing industry is increasing due to its smooth surface, mechanical strength, better slivering and stripe-making qualities. In addition, it takes good polish.”
The discovery means there are now no less than 128 species of bamboo found in India, mostly in the north-east, although just four of these are found in Maharashta.
All this may come as a surprise to anyone who buys a travel bamboo toothbrush and imagines that bamboo is all one and the same.
Among the most common types of bamboo found in India are Bambusa Strita, which is cultivated all over the country, Bambusa Tulda - also known as Bengal Timber - which is mostly used in the paper pulping sector, Dragon Bamboo - which can grow up to 100 ft tall, and Bambusa Polymorpha, which has edible shoots and is used in handicrafts as well as construction.