The bamboo family are elegant arborescent grasses.
BAMBOO, the popular name for a tribe of grasses, Bambuseae, which are large, often tree-like, with woody stems. The stems spring from an underground root-stock and are often crowded to form dense clumps; the largest species reach 120 ft.
Formerly knives were made of bamboo, which is still sometimes used for that purpose.
Other palm trees found are the date, bamboo, palmyra, coco and dom.
It is, however, the stem of the bamboo which is applied to the greatest variety of uses.
Apart from agriculture, the industries consist in the manufacture of fine bamboo hats and mats, and wooden combs for export and local use.
The island of Shikotan is remarkable for the growth of a species of bamboo (called Shikotan-chiku), having dark brown spots on the cane.
Bark provides material for string, while baskets and mats are neatly and stoutly made from canes and buckets out of bamboo and wood.
Drums, gourd and bamboo flutes,and a kind of guitar, were known before Cook's day.
Mats, rugs and carpets are made principally of split bamboo; chairs and beds of balinag and other woods and of rattan.
A useful and interesting account of these and their cultivation will be found in the Bamboo Garden, by A.
They neither plant nor have they any manufactures except their rude bamboo and rattan vessels, the fish and game traps which they set with much skill, and the bows, blow-pipes and bamboo spears with which they and the produce of their hunting and fishing.
Where Javanese is the principal language, Malay is sometimes found written with Javanese characters; and in Palembang, in the Menangkabo country of Middle Sumatra, the Rechang or Renchong characters are in general use, so called from the sharp and pointed knife with which they are cut on the smooth side of bamboo staves.
Privacy was obtained by blinds of split bamboo, and the parent chamber was, separated from the ambulatory by similar bamboo blinds with silk cords for raising or lowering them, or by curtains.
In the bamboo-rats, Rhizomys, from the Indo-Malay countries, China and Tibet, as well as in the closely allied East African Tachyoryctes, the eyes are, however, functional, and the head is rounded.
The indigenous economic plants are few, and are of no commercial value, excepting wild ginseng,bamboo, which is applied to countless uses, and "tak-pul" (Hibiscus Manihot), used in the manufacture of paper.
The following may be mentioned; Arundinaria simoni, a fine plant which in the bamboo garden at Kew has reached 18 ft.
Like so many lemurs, it is completely nocturnal in its habits, living either alone or in pairs, chiefly in the bamboo forests.
The nature of the breeding-place varies greatly according to the species, and while many of the mosquitoes that infest houses will breed even in the smallest accidental accumulation of water such as may have collected in a discarded bottle or tin, the larvae of other species less closely associated with man are found in natural pools or ditches, at the margins of slow-moving streams, in collections of water in hollow trees and bamboo-stumps, or even in the water-receptacles of certain plants.
The chief industries are sugar-refining, the manufacture of cement, paper, bamboo and rattan ware, carving in wood and ivory, working in copper and iron, gold-beating and the production of gold, silver and sandal-wood ware, furniture making, umbrella and j;nricksha making, and industries connected with kerosene oil and matches.
They consist chiefly in the manufacture of sea-salt, of varied and admirable paper, thin and poor silk, horse-hair crinoline for hats, fine split bamboo blinds, hats and mats, coarse pottery, hemp cloth for mourners, brass bowls and grass-cloth.
As a medicinal agent the bamboo is entirely inert, and it has never been received into the European materia medica.
The grains of the bamboo are available for food, and the Chinese have a proverb that it produces seed more abundantly in years when the rice crop fails, which means, probably, that in times of dearth the natives look more after such a source of food.
The bamboo is employed in the construction of all kinds of agricultural and domestic implements and in the materials and implements required in fishery.
Besides these are the sandalwood, Santalum, of southern India, and many sorts of bamboo found in all parts of the country.
The Umzimkulu river rises in Bamboo Castle, in the Drakensberg, and, with bolder curves than the Umkomaas, runs in a course generally parallel with that stream S.E.
The typical Annamese dwelling is open to the gaze of the passer-by during the day; at night a sort of partition of bamboo is let down.
It is the trade centre of a fertile agricultural district, and manufactures bamboo hats, silk and native fibre goods.
They were often Vehkles constructed of rich lacquer; the curtains suspended in front were of the finest bamboo workmanship, with thick cords and tassels of plaited silk, and the draught animal, an ox of handsome proportions, was brilliantly caparisoned.
Sickness is often explained as due to the absence of the soul; and means are sometimes taken to lure back the wandering soul; when a Chinese is at the point of death and his soul is supposed to have already left his body, the patient's coat is held up on a long bamboo while a priest endeavours to bring the departed spirit back into the coat by means of incantations.
A variety of mountain bamboo is found in southern and parts of eastern Tibet, and is much used for basket work.
The uses to which all the parts and products of the bamboo are applied in Oriental countries are almost endless.
Bamboo is extensively used as a timber wood, and houses are frequently made entirely out of the products of the plant; complete sections of the stem form posts or columns; split up, it serves for floors or rafters; and, interwoven in lattice-work, it is employed for the sides of rooms, admitting light and air.
The roof is sometimes of bamboo solely, and when split, which is accomplished with the greatest ease, it can be formed into laths or planks.
A joint forms a holder for papers or pens, and it was in a joint of bamboo that silk-worm eggs were carried from China to Constantinople during the reign of Justinian.
Strips are also woven into cages, chairs, beds and other articles of furniture, Oriental wicker-work in bamboo being unequalled for beauty and neatness of workmanship. In China the interior portions of the stem are beaten into a pulp and used for the manufacture of the finer varieties of paper.
A number of species of bamboo are hardy under cultivation in the British Isles.
The implements used are two makes of iron-shod wooden ploughs; a large shovel, worked by three or five men, one working the handle, the others jerking the blade by ropes attached to it; a short sharp-pointed hoe, a bamboo rake, and a wooden barrow, all of rude construction.
In the lowlands and on the lower mountain slopes the forests are composed chiefly of broad-leaved trees, common among which are the bamboo, the coco and other palms, and the banyan tree; but on the higher mountain slopes pines are most abundant.
Many miles of inland water communication with small boats or bamboo rafts are afforded by the Pampanga, Agno, Abra, Pasig and Bicol rivers in Luzon, and by the Agusan and Rio Grande de Mindanao in Mindanao.
Sharks' teeth, shells and bamboo were formerly generally used as cutting instruments for shaving and surgical operations.
The Ayan spruce (Abies ayanensis), the Sakhalin fir (Abies sachalensis) and the Daurian larch are the chief trees; on the upper parts of the mountains are the Siberian rampant cedar (Cembra pumila) and the Kurilian bamboo (Arundinaria kurilense).