Stems 10 to 18 ft high in this country, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. thick at the base, deep green. Branches long; stem-sheaths pinkish when young, conspicuously mottled with deep purple. Leaves varying from 21⁄2 to 6 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide (occasionally they are even larger), bright green above, glaucous beneath, glabrous except for some down at the base of the midrib beneath; one margin toothed; secondary veins five to seven each side the midrib; leaf-sheath with a conspicuous tuft of bristles at the top, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long.
Native of China; introduced to France by Admiral Du Quilio in 1866. It is one of the finest of hardy bamboos, very hardy and free-growing. P. viridi-glaucescens is the only species with which, in the adult state, it is likely to be confused, and from that species it is distinguished by the mottled leaf-sheaths (in P. viridi-glaucescens they are simply striated or tinged with purple), by the larger leaves and longer branches.
cv. ‘Allgold’ (‘Sulphurea’). – Stems bright yellow, sometimes slightly striped with green, becoming deep golden yellow (P. sulphurea (Carr.) A. & C. Riv.; Bambusa sulphurea Carr.).
McClure suggests that this bamboo may be a mutant from ‘Castillonis’. He has proposed for it the cultivar-name ‘Allgold’, to avoid confusion with another bamboo to which the name P. sulphurea has been misapplied.
cv. ‘Castillonis’. – Stems 8 to 10 ft high (more no doubt in warmer climates) very hollow; bright yellow except on the flattened portion which extends from joint to joint either side alternately, and that is dark green. Leaves 2 to 5 in. long as a rule, and 3⁄8 to 3⁄4 in. wide, but occasionally up to 8 or 9 in. long and 11⁄2 in. wide, usually striped with creamy yellow lines, but not uniformly so; sometimes they are more yellow than green, sometimes wholly green (P. castillonis Mitf.; P. bambusoides var. castilloni (Marliac) H. de Lehaie; Bambusa castilloni Marliac).
This is the most beautifully coloured in its stems of all hardy bamboos. The curious alternation of green and yellow, together with the often variegated leaves, makes it very distinct. Although better known as P. castillonis, it is a garden variety of P. bambusoides, introduced from Japan in 1886. It flowered in 1903-4 and again in 1963-8. At Kew all the flowering plants have died.
cv. ‘Marliacea’. – This bamboo is distinguished by a curious wrinkling of the stems, especially towards the base. It is not so vigorous, nor so hardy, as typical P. bambusoides (P. marliacea Mitf.; P. quilioi var. marliacea (Mitf.) Bean).
cv. ‘Violascens’. – A cultivated form of P. bambusoides, very distinct in having the young stems of a deep violet, almost black, changing the second year to yellowish brown. The sheaths are also violet. There was a plant of this at Shrublands, near Ipswich; but frequently it is not a success, growing late, and having its summer growth cut back during the ensuing winter (P. violascens A. & C. Riv.).