What one plant can provide furniture, kitchen tools, towels, clothing, and even ingredients for meals? Bamboo. Bamboo grows on every continent except Europe and Antarctica, but it occupies a special place in Asian culture and history. The ancient Chinese used it to make the earliest firearms. They also learned to use bamboo shoots as food. Modern China has led the way in developing techniques to make bamboo fabric.
In a Chinese legend, the gave two of his daughters to the future as a test for his potential to rule. Shun passed the test of being able to run his household with the two emperor's daughters as wives, and thus Yao made Shun his successor, bypassing his unworthy son. Later, Shun drowned in the . The tears his two bereaved wives let fall upon the bamboos growing there explains the origin of . The two women later became goddesses.
|Bamboo Pictures, Green plants. The bamboos are a group of woody perennial evergreen (except for certain temperate species) plants in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Some are giant bamboos, the largest members of the grass family. Bamboos are the fastest growing woody plants in the world. Their growth rate (up to 60 centimeters (24 in.)/day) is due to a unique rhizome-dependent system, but is highly dependent on local soil and climate conditions.|
A bamboo cane is also the weapon of legendary hero, , who had grown up immediately and magically since the age of three because of his wish to liberate his land from Ân invaders. An ancient Vietnamese legend () tells of a poor, young farmer who fell in love with his landlord's beautiful daughter. The farmer asked the landlord for his daughter's hand in marriage, but the proud landlord would not allow her to be bound in marriage to a poor farmer. The landlord decided to foil the marriage with an impossible deal; the farmer must bring him a "bamboo tree of 100 ". But () appeared to the farmer and told him that such a tree could be made from 100 nodes from several different trees. gave to him four magic words to attach the many nodes of bamboo: , which means "joined together immediately, fell apart immediately". The triumphant farmer returned to the landlord and demanded his daughter. Curious to see such a long bamboo, the landlord was magically joined to the bamboo when he touched it, as the young farmer said the first two magic words. The story ends with the happy marriage of the farmer and the landlord's daughter after the landlord agreed to the marriage and asked to be separated from the bamboo.
The entire culm reaches full height and girth in three or four months and is ready for harvest (for everything but edible bamboo shoots) in about three years.