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Nepali Bamboo Species and Their Uses

a) Principle Uses of Bamboo in Order of Diameter

Containers; pillars for shelters or drying racks; roof beams or trusses; fence posts; scaffolding; fencing rail (split); split and woven mats arid panelling; split and woven baskets and trays; crushed and woven panelling; split bends for tying; bamboo shoots; firewood; pulp and fodder. For most constructional purposes and fencing, softwood and hardwood timber is stronger, more durable and preferred, but it is also more expensive, and harder to obtain and convert (Lamichhaney, 1988).

The calorific value of Pyllostachys pubescens is high at 4 600 - 5 000 cal/kg. The values for other species have not. been calculated. In India it is used in the ceramics industry. The only drawback is that it burns quickly (Sharma, 1988).

Prolonged boiling is necessary before certain species of bamboo (those suitable for making binding strips [choya]) can be eaten (Rana, 1989).

b) USES & SOURCES OF BAMBOO: (See also Meyer, 1987)

Bhalu bans

Source: Okhaldhunga.

Description: Open clump, not so thick walled as others, large, up to l5 cm dia.

Uses: General purpose; building.

Comments: Culm cutting tests started Feb. 1989.

Bonu bans (wild bamboo)

Source: Damauli.

Description: Gives good fodder, but is slow growing, partly due to its susceptibility to insect attack (esp. the new shoots). It is quite large, but not rigid enough for construction (Storey, 1988b).

Chilei bans

Source: Damauli

Description: Similar to Dhanu, but less branching and mature leaves are larger. It is used for rafter poles and rafter binding strips. The initial branches are extremely fine (Storey, 1988b).

Choya bans or Dou Rai

Source: Amp Pipal; Damauli; Okhaldhunga

Description: Slightly spreading, can grow on very dry land.

Uses: Water pipes; construction; binding strips; baskets ; mats; can be eaten, but not so good as other species.

Crum jei or small Satei (Damauli)

No details.

Dhanu bans (Bambusa balcooa)

Source: Amp Pipal; Andhi Khola; Damauli; Pokhara; Tansen

Description: Very ~hick wall, culms @ 1cm dia.

Uses: Soil protection; House construction; basket-making; Phakari; Bhata; fuelwood.

Comments: Will grow from culm cuttings and rhizomes.

Dhuti nigalo

Source: S. Lalitpur.

Description: Similar to Nigalo. There is a high alti~ude variant which has larger side branches.

Uses: Roofing; baskets; erosion control.

Comments: The high altitude species does not grow well below 6 000 ft.

Dou Rai (See Choya bans).

Dungrei bans

Source: Okhaldhunga.

Description: Very large (up to 16 cm dia.). Name means ‘two cylinders’. Has aerial roots. Culm sections approx. 30 cm long. Not as long as Malu.

Uses: Posts; roof trusses.

Ghopi bans

Source: Tansen

Comments: Too small to grow successfully from culm cuttings (Bradshaw, 1989a).

Katha bans

Source: S. Lalitpur.

Description: Not seen on field trip. Grows to about 8 cm diameter.

Uses: House construction; binding strips; not good for eating; leaves too small for fodder.

Kute bans

Source: No details

Description: Open clump

Uses General purpose; building.

Comments: No success so far from cuttings.

Laurel bans

Source: Okhaldhunga; Tansen.

Description: Extremely useful spreading species. Small dia. (4 cm). Introduced to Okhaldhunga in 1982.

Uses: Very high potential for soil protection. Used only for weaving.

Comments: Will not; grow from culm cuttings, but; very successful from rhizomes (Bradshaw, 1989a).

Leiwa bans (Pendrocalamus patellens)

Source: Okhaldhunga; Tansen.

Comments: Too small to grow from culm cuttings, also poor success from rhizomes (Bradshaw, 1989a).

Malu or Mola or Malo

Source: Inner Terai ; Okhaldhunga area.

Description: Semi creeping, very tall.

Uses: General purpose; roofing; scaffolding. Probably the most useful of all Bamboos.

Comments: Culm cutting tests started Feb. 1989.

Nigalo (Drepanostachyum khasianum)

Source: Amp Pipal area; Andhi Khola; West Baglung Dis~rict; du~la; S. Lalitpur; Okhaldhunga; Pokhara; Tansen

Description: Very small; 1 cm dia, 5 m tall.

Uses: Baskets; furniture; fodder.

Comments: Obviously too small for culm cuttings. Successful from rhizomes.


Source: Okhaldhunga.

Description: Forms a dense clump, looks like a giant blue Nigalo. flax. dia. about 4 cm.

Uses: Extremely good weaving species

Comments: Too small for cuttings. Rhizomes planted in Tansen in Feb. 1989.


Source: Damauli

Description: Like a large Laurei, growing up to 10 cm dia. Originally from Africa, brought via Assan and Chitwan to Damauli.

Uses: Can be split in half lengthways crushed and made into thin boards or woven into mats, which are very durable, lasting 20 years or more. It is also used house walls and rafters. (Storey, 1988b).

Sata (See Taru bans)

Satei or Ta Ruka

Source: Damauli.

Description: Medium size up to 6.5 cm dia.

Uses: Roof rafters (Storey, 1988b).

Tama kalo & Tama seto (Dendrocalamus hamiltonii)

Source: Amp Pipal; Andhi Khola; Kathmandu; S. Lalitpur; Okhaldhunga; Pokhara; Tansen.

Description: Considered the best. bamboo in West Nepal, but not in the East where Malu is found.

Uses: Fodder; Fuelwood; Soil protection; Shoots edible; Baskets; Phakari; Bhata.

Comments: Will grow from culm cuttings (Bradshaw, 1989a).

Ta Ruka (See Satei)

Taru or Sata (Bambusa Sp.)

Source: Amp Pipal area; S. Lalitpur; Pokhara; Tansen.

Description: Light branching, thick wall.

Uses: Baskets; furniture; fodder.

Comments: The most successful species in culm-cutting propagation trials (Bradshaw, 1989a).

Tellia (Pronounced: Tee-lee-ya)

Source: Okhaldhunga.

Comments: Not seen on field trip.

Tite nigalo

Source: S. La1i~pur.

Description: Similar in appearance to ordinary Nigalo.

Uses: As for Nigalo.


Amp Pipal: Choya; Dhanu; Nigalo; Tama; Taru

Andhi Khola: Dhanu; Nigalo; Tama

Butwal: Bamboo species not used and names not known.

Jumla: Nigalo

Kathmandu: Tama

S. Lalitpur: Dhuti nigalo; Katha; Nigalo; Tama; Taru; Tite nigalo

Okaldhunga: Bhamu; Choya; Dungrei; Laurei; Leiwa; Ma1u; Nigalo; Paryreng; Tama; Tellia.

Pokhara: Dhanu; Nigalo; Tama ; Taru

Surkhet: Not visited.

Tansen: Dhanu; Ghopi; Laurei; Leiwa; Nigalo; Tama; Taru

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