Stems pale yellowish green, 10 to 15 ft high in this country, stiffly erect, growing in tufts and spreading slowly, the joints often 5 or 6 in. apart, except at the base, where they are crowded. Beneath each joint there is a curious swollen band, about 1⁄4 in. wide, which distinguishes this from all other hardy bamboos. Leaves 2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 1⁄3 to 7⁄8 in. wide, broadly tapered at the base, slenderly pointed, dark green above, glaucous beneath, glabrous on both surfaces, minutely toothed on the margins; secondary nerves four or five each side the midrib; stalk 1⁄6 in. or less long; the leaf-sheath surmounted by two tufts of bristles at the summit.
Native of China, cultivated in Japan, whence it was introduced to Europe in the 1870s. It flowered at Bitton in 1876 and again in various parts of the British Isles and overseas in 1904-5, 1919-21, and 1935-7, giving it a life cycle of about fifteen years. It is a pleasing bamboo if planted in a goodly sized mass, although not so graceful as the majority. It is only likely to be confused with P. pubescens which is, however, a taller bamboo without the crowded joints at the base of the stem, and without the swollen band beneath the joint, which is so distinctive a character in P. aurea.