The Museum complex site where you find the bamboo growing is nestled behind Sam Houston's home and also is fondly known as the "Bamboo Forest." This plant species grows quickly and is invasive as a result has taken over much of the area, leading the groundskeeper to busily thin these plants, making it more manageable.
My first impressions while visiting the site was not only how impressive the number of Bamboo plants growing, but how massive the stalks were. It truly was a forest full of Bamboo.
As I sat down to draw, I noticed a slight breeze which caused the Bamboo to sway creating a musical clanging noise. I felt like I was being serenaded by a giant wind chimes.
The finished Field Sketch
Here are some of the interesting facts I learned about Bamboo:
There are over 1000 species of the Poaceae family which grows up to one meter per day. The plant spreads by sending out underground stems called rhizomes which are classified as either "clumpers" or "runners.". If you have a choice the clumper is the preferable choice, because it is not as invasive and better at soil stabilization.
Although Bamboo is a grass it is strong enough to support a person 300 Ft. in the air. Many parts of Asia use Bamboo instead of steel as a major construction material to build site scaffolding. Architects call it "vegetal steel.". Bamboo can be bound together to form posts, beams of a house or cables of a suspension bridge.
Bamboo is so versatile it can be carved into utensils, split and woven into mats, bent and shaped into objects both graceful and utilitarian, and laminated into floors which are harder than oak. It is even being seriously looked at in Africa as a material to build inexpensive bicycle frames to provide a cheap method of transportation.
In Asian cuisine, it is the underground rhizomes that forms the bud that is harvested and cut into food called Bamboo Shoots. The negative side is that rats also love to eat the seeds and then cause problems spreading rodent borne diseases.
UR:TURN: What is your favorite Asian cuisine that uses Bamboo Shoots, or have you seen or used Bamboo in some unusual way?
Until Next Time.