Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Phyllostachys Aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' stem (10/07/2011, London)

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' stem (10/07/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained soil

Flowering period: N/A

Eventual Height: 8m

Eventual Spread: Indefinite

Hardiness: USDA Zone 5a-10b

Family: Poaceae

Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’ is an evergreen bamboo with a clump forming habit. It has striped sheathes and brownish green grooves on its rough yellow stalks, a colour reversal of the species. Its mid green leaves can be up to 15cm long, and its wind pollinated inflorescence is monoecious, visually insignificant and may take many years to materialise.

P. aureosulcata, commonly known as Yellow Groove Bamboo, is native to much of eastern Asia. Various cultivars have been grown for their edible shoots as they are not particularly bitter, even when raw. The shoots are also used as attractive supports for growing other plants.

Phyllostachys is derived from Greek meaning ‘leaf spike’. Aureosulcata is derived from the Latin aureus meaning ‘golden’ and sulcus meaning ‘furrow’ or ‘groove’.

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' (10/07/2011, London)

Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Spectabilis' (10/07/2011, London)

This plant may be useful to the landscape architect as an interesting hedging or screen plant that is also low maintenance and drought tolerant. Caution must be exercised when locating this plant as it may become invasive due to it spreading by underground runners.

The Royal Horticultural Society gave the form Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. aureocaulis their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

This plant will tolerate many soil conditions; it will be happy at neutral, acid or alkaline pH levels, in loam or chalk based soils facing a sheltered, south, east or north facing aspect. It is also drought tolerant once established.

Ecologically the young shoots of this plant are exceptionally attractive as food for terrestrial gastropods.

Maintenance: This plant requires little to no maintenance. The plant may be thinned out if required and spent canes may be cut back to the ground.

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