Stems up to 22 ft high, 11⁄2 in. diameter at the base, perfectly erect, very hollow, dark green, round except at the upper internodes, which are flattened on one side; branches short, very leafy. Stem-sheaths very large, up to 9 in. long by 4 in. wide at the base when spread out, purplish and at first downy outside, beautifully glazed within; they fall off early. Leaves 4 to 8 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1 in. wide, wedge-shaped at the base, long- and taper-pointed, dark lustrous green above; one side the midrib beneath glaucous, the other greenish; margins toothed; secondary veins four to six each side the midrib.
Native of Japan, where it is known as ‘Narihira-dake’. Narihira, Lord Redesdale tells us, was the beautiful hero of one of the classic romances of Japan, written in the eleventh century. Although in some respects this bamboo resembles A. simonii, it is perfectly distinct and a superior plant. If not the most graceful, it is the loftiest and stateliest of hardy species, differing from A. simonii in the early fall of the stem-sheaths; in the short, crowded branches at each joint, which give to each stem-growth a columnar appearance; and in the more tufted habit. Although suckers do push through the ground good distances away from the parent clump, it is not so rampant as A. simonii. Introduced in 1892, it commenced flowering in 1957; during the past eleven years blooming has taken place in several gardens, many of the plants dying after flowering. It is very hardy, and the foliage of no bamboo suffers less from winter cold.