10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bamboo
Updated: Sep 2
As one of the earth’s most useful and remarkable plants, there’s a lot you may not know about bamboo! Here we break down 10 of the most impressive facts about this ‘miracle’ plant that might just turn you into a bamboo enthusiast, just like us.
1. Bamboo holds a Guinness World Record
For those of you wishing you could break a Guinness world record… well one of its species already has! Named as the fastest growing plant in the world, its growth was recorded as fast as 35 inches in one day - almost 1.5 inches per hour. That’s a speed of 0.00003 km/h, meaning you could literally sit there and watch it grow right before your eyes.
2. Bamboo is one of the most renewable plants on earth
Thanks to its fast growth, it is also considered one of the most renewable plants on the planet. It can be harvested every 3-5 years, and then simply continues to grow new shoots from its remarkable root system - needing no additional planting or cultivation! Every part of the bamboo plant can be used for something, so it leaves zero waste. And then once it reaches its life span it can all be recycled back into the earth.
3. Bamboo can survive an atomic bomb
Yes, you read that right! Bamboo is able to withstand such extreme heat that in 1945, it was the only plant to survive the incinerating heat of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima, Japan. Whereas all trees and plants were destroyed in the devastation, one bamboo grove famously survived. That’s resilience on a whole new level!
4. Bamboo is one of the strongest materials on the planet
Probably not so surprising now you know it survived an atomic bomb, but bamboo is actually one of the strongest materials on the planet - stronger even than steel! Its tensile strength is 28,0000 PSI, compared to that of steel which is 24,000 PSI. Due to the inherent strength of its molecular structure, bamboo has been used for thousands of years as building material.
5. Bamboo helps reverse climate change
Bamboo is great for absorbing greenhouse gases and reducing climate change. Not only does it absorb carbon dioxide but it also produces lots of clean air by releasing over 30% more oxygen into the atmosphere than the equivalent amount of trees! As a suitable alternative for timber, it also regrows and matures much faster than most trees - helping to alleviate pressure off forest resources and reduce the rate of deforestation.
6. Humans eat bamboo
Stronger than steel and practically bomb resilient, you might be surprised to find out that it’s been a stable food source for humans for thousands of years, particularly in Asia, where crispy and crunchy bamboo shoots are served in soups, salads, stir fries and more!
7. Each bamboo species flowers at the same time
Although most bamboo species only flower once every 60 to 130 years, when they do, their entire species will flower at the same time! Regardless of its location, climate or any factor. Meaning that when a bamboo plant in North America flowers, the same plant in Africa, Asia and everywhere else will do the same at around the same time. That’s some pretty incredible internal clocks there!
8. Bamboo is anti-bacterial
It contains a natural bio-agent known as 'Bamboo Kun', which is naturally anti-bacterial. This agent eliminates over 70% of bacteria that attempts to grow on it, making bamboo a particularly hygienic choice of material for a range of products such as clothing, linen and tissue.
9. Bamboo has deodorising properties
Bamboo charcoal is very porous and can absorb large amounts of odor causing bacteria. Thanks to this, an increasing amount of products that need natural deodorizing properties are turning to bamboo - including bed sheets, socks, linens and more.
10. Bamboo related industries employ over 2 billion people
Thanks to its remarkable properties and near limitless uses, the bamboo industry has an estimated global economy worth of 60 billion USD a year. By growing locally to some of the poorest communities, it has played an important role in helping to alleviate rural poverty. It creates billions of jobs worldwide, including farmers, factory workers, construction workers and more.