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Stems 10 to 12 ft high (5 or 6 ft more in the milder counties), round, very hollow, erect, 1⁄6 to 2⁄3 in. diameter, with erect branches near the top, producing only a few leaves the first year. Stem-sheaths nearly as long or longer than the space between the joints, which is sometimes 8 in., very persistent, soon turning pale brown, covered at first with flattened bristles; terminated when young by an awl-shaped tongue up to 3 in. long, but only 1⁄8 in. wide. Leaves 7 to 12 in. long, 3⁄4 to 2 in. wide, terminated by a long tail-like point; the upper surface glossy dark green, rather glaucous beneath, except a strip about one-fourth of its width near one margin, which is green. There are five to nine secondary veins each side the midrib, minutely tessellated with cross-veinlets; one margin is minutely, the other scarcely toothed.
Native of Japan; introduced by Von Siebold in 1850, and for long the only bamboo commonly grown in British gardens. It is a very hardy and accommodating species, and a handsome evergreen, having larger leaves than any other bamboo of its height and character that we can grow outside. It does not spread quickly by underground suckers, but maintains a rather tufted habit. It flowered in Europe between 1872 and 1874, and has been in flower in many parts of the British Isles since about 1950. While all stems have flowered on some plants, leading to their death, most plants have bloomed only on a few stems and continue to produce vigorous new vegetative shoots.