One of our most exciting new bamboos. New culms are powdery blue-white aging to olive/yellow, with fine longitudinal striae. The tan culm sheaths are very large and hang from the plant in obtuse angles. The inside of the sheath is shiny and reflective. Later in the season they fall off completely, leaving behind the bluish-white culms. Leaves are medium size, matte green. In their first year the culms are pretty upright; second and third year, as the foliage grows more dense, the added weight causes the culms to arch outward. There is always a combination on new, upright culms in the center, with older arching culms around the outside (see second photo).
We are amazed how quickly this plant reaches a tall height. We planted a 10 gallon B. papyrifera on the hillside near our office in late spring of 2005, by summer of 2008 it produced culms that measured 17 feet in height with one inch diameter at the node. Very impressive. The color is unbelievable.
Originally collected by Dr. Chris Stapleton in Yunnan, China, near the Myanmar border, at elevation approaching 12,000 feet. It is edible, and used by local cultures for tool handles and for making paper. Very limited supply.