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Why does bamboo grow so fast? © Getty Images

Why does bamboo grow so fast?

Published: 02nd September, 2021 at 11:00
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Some bamboo plants can grow at a rate of 0.00003 km/h.

Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth. In fact, the Chinese moso bamboo can grow almost a metre in a single day.

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Bamboo grows in dense forests where little light reaches the ground and there is strong evolutionary pressure to reach the sunlight as quickly as possible.

Bamboo shoots are connected to their parent plant by an underground stem, called a rhizome. This means the shoot doesn’t need any leaves of its own, until it reaches full height. Bamboo also grows with constant diameter. Unlike woody plants, bamboo doesn’t waste energy on growth rings that progressively thicken the stalk. It’s just a single stick, growing straight up.

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Asked by: Nibal Sawaf, Cardiff

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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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