Glossary of Bamboo Terms

Culm
A cane/stem which is hollow except at the nodes, as are the bamboo canes.

Diaphragm
The rigid membrane which forms the partition within the nodes, adding strength to the cane.

Internode
Portion of the culm or cane between nodes.

Node
Point on the culm from which branches and leaves grow on the outside, and where the diaphragm appears inside, separating hollow segments of the culm.

Rhizome
A type of rootstock consisting of a creeping stem, usually growing horizontally underground. In the case of bamboo, the rhizomes are woody and segmented just like the culms.

Sheath
An enclosing “leaf” which protects the young shoots, culms, and sometimes branches as well. May be dropped or retained as shoot matures.

Shoot
New culm which has just broken ground, arising from a rhizome underground, completely covered with sheaths, and poised to demonstrate bamboo’s reputation for phenomenally rapid growth. Bamboo shoots are a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.

Sulcus
A groove along the length of the internode, sometimes of a different color from the rest of the cane.