January 17, 2013

Bamboo Flowers in Miri

I picked up a piece of intriguing information from my former colleague Mr. Sapen. He pointed out to me that when the bamboo flowers, the rodent population in his farm will increase thus causing a lot of damage.

It was the first time I was able to photograph bamboo flowers, although I had seen them many times in different parts of Sarawak. I did not know that bamboo only flowers infrequently , like once in 50 years!! or 65 years. And then after that the cluster would die. I will go back to this bamboo grove in a few months time to photograph it again.

The relationship between rat populations and bamboo flowering was examined in a 2009 Nova documentary Rat Attack.

Beautiful bamoo leaves against the sky.

A bunch of flowers growing from a tall bamboo

this is a cluster of bamboo flowers.


Zoomed in , you see this very interesting cluster or bunch of bamboo flowers.

Another cluster.

The beginning of a bamboo flower at a lower level (nearer the ground)

It was an eye opening visit to a rural farm owned by Mr. Sapen which was initiated by his late father in 1984.

(Wikipedia says : Bamboo's long life makes it a Chinese symbol of longevity, while in India it is a symbol of friendship. The rarity of its blossoming has led to the flowers' being regarded as a sign of impending famine. This may be due to rats feeding upon the profusion of flowers, then multiplying and destroying a large part of the local food supply. The most recent flowering began in May 2006 (see Mautam). Bamboo is said to bloom in this manner only about every 50 years (see 28–60 year examples in FAO: 'gregarious' species table).
In Chinese culture, the bamboo, plum blossom, orchid, and chrysanthemum (often known as méi lán zhú jú 梅兰竹菊) are collectively referred to as the Four Gentlemen. These four plants also represent the four seasons and, in Confucian ideology, four aspects of the junzi ("prince" or "noble one"). The pine (sōng 松), the bamboo (zhú 竹), and the plum blossom (méi 梅) are also admired for their perseverance under harsh conditions, and are together known as the "Three Friends of Winter" (岁寒三友 suìhán sānyǒu) in Chinese culture. The "Three Friends of Winter" is traditionally used as a system of ranking in Japan, for example in sushi sets or accommodations at a traditional ryokan. Pine (matsu 松) is of the first rank, bamboo (také 竹) is of second rank, and plum (ume 梅) is of the third.)


Daniel Yiek said...

learned something new.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I am learning too, every day from friends and especially when I go to the ulu. Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I never know that the bamboo plant have flowers. Will be on the lookout from now on.

Molly Ellen

Anonymous said...

Indeed bamboo flowers very infrequently. But it is actuially a good sign rather than a bad one. Maybe something positive will happen? tropical bamboo that we have are often in cluster. Have u ever notice bamboos from temperature countries like Korea, China and Japan? they are not in cluster but upright stem, one by one.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Molly, yes indeed they have. I saw a lot of them in Brunei but did not follow up. This bamboo cluster has several flowers and it was very interesting.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

There are many different kinds of bamboos in Asia and in other parts of the world. Thanks for mentioning the ones in Korean andJapan. I have seen quite a few in China. Brunei Uni has one of the largest bambootarium (spelling) in Asia. Many species are grow there too. Worth a visit. I have not finished looking at them.

mezzo solo said...

i was badly scolded by my primary science teacher, and he marked a big X on my exam paper without realizing a little fragile heart was hurt.
haha. the question was, bamboos are not flowering plants. true/false ?i marked false。 i was staying in the village then.... sob sob

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Oh dear, a fragile heart was really hurt. Did it take you this long to see the true answer? Books in those days did not have many photos. Can understand your mistake. God bless.

Allow me to pat your hurt.