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A dwarf bamboo, with stems 1 to 3 ft high, very slender, zigzagged, green or purplish; joints 1⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. apart, bearing solitary branches. Leaves arranged in two opposite rows, 3⁄4 to 21⁄4 in. long, 1⁄6 to 1⁄3 in. wide, rounded at the base, pointed, bright green above, slightly glaucous beneath; both margins bristle-toothed, but one more than the other; secondary veins two or three each side the midrib; leaf-sheaths hairy on the margins.
Native of Japan; cultivated by Messrs Veitch in the ‘seventies of last century, and probably introduced for them by John Gould Veitch during the previous decade. Its dwarf erect stems and tiny, distichously arranged leaves easily distinguish it from all other hardy bamboos. It was once known in gardens, erroneously, as “Bambusa nana”.
This species was in flower at Wakehurst Place, Sussex, in 1967, a few 4 to 12 in. stems bearing one or two spikelets at their tips; this appears to be its first blooming in the British Isles, although the flowers may have been previously overlooked.
It is generally accepted that this bamboo is not a good species, but its correct taxonomic position has been a matter of dispute. It is now considered to be a form (f. distichus) of Pleioblastus pygmaeus (Miq.) Nakai, a species which is uncommon in gardens in its typical state, and should not be confused with ‘Bambusa pygmaea’ Hort., which is Arundinaria ramosa (vagans).